NY Post: Chris Paul delivers dagger in bitter end to Knicks’ winning streak

From Marc Berman:

After losing in Brooklyn on Sunday, Suns star Devin Booker vowed to finish his team’s five-game Eastern swing with a victory at the World’s Most Famous Arena.

“That’s last thing we said in the locker room,’’ Booker said. “We’ll be ready for [Monday].’’

And so they were. The Knicks have a lot of good things going but they don’t have Booker. They don’t have point guard Chris Paul — try as they might have. And they don’t have emerging standout Mikal Bridges, even though they could have.

In a bitter end to the Knicks’ nine-game winning streak, Paul connected on three daggers in the final 1:20, including a wild circus shot, to lift the mighty Suns to a 118-110 victory Monday at the Garden.

The Knicks, who finish their six-game homestand Wednesday against the Bulls, blew a 15-point lead they built in the second quarter.

“It’s over — win the next one,’’ said a dejected Julius Randle, who put forth a rare stinker amid his All-Star campaign. “I’m fine. I saw a lot of bodies but it was what it was. The game’s in the past and move onto the next one. Find a way to close out the homestand with a win.’’

“I saw a lot of bodies” is a weird thing to say.

Anyhow, they played one of the most successful teams in the NBA (I really don’t think they’re as good as their record, but they’re still quite good) to the last 30 seconds, so that was very impressive.

One of the things that has been fascinating is how the Knicks’ offense has slowly but surely been ratcheting up the three-pointers taken and it has done a world of good for this offense. Love to see it.

Now, just go kick the Bulls’ butt on Wednesday and start a new streak!

EDITED TO ADD: Look how weird this Mike Vaccarro article is. This dude got paid to basically just write nothing. It’s bizarre.

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151 thoughts to “NY Post: Chris Paul delivers dagger in bitter end to Knicks’ winning streak”

  1. Re-watched some the shots CP3 took in that final minute or so. Obviously not happy he hit them, but I think on reflection I am not going to lose sleep over the looks we gave him. Some crazy makes.

  2. I was confident before and during most of the game,
    it’s a pity to break the streak after a 15-points lead, but despite Rose’s heroics (and without Burks) we can’t survive Randle’s and RJ’s bad shooting night.
    For the nth time we lost a game with a contender but played well enough to feel somewhat happy.

    Atlanta and Miami lost (against inferior opponents) so it’s a missed chance but could have been worse.

    The last 90 seconds were a theatre of horror “Old Knicks Style” (the bad and unlucky ones), the Suns’ offensive rebound, Bullock’s dumb turnover and Paul’s circus shot plus the dagger three against solid defense,
    but this game was lost in june 2018, every Bridges’ bucket was a cut to my heart, fuck Perry, Mills and Fizdale…

    Thibs and the staff have been very good at adjusting, so I’m not counting out a revenge in Arizona (see Dallas).

    I have some thoughts on D-Rose but I’ll keep them for another thread…

  3. I don’t like moral victories at all, but this game was clearly one. We had a chance till the last minute, and this in a game where their main players (CP3, Booker) played well and ours (Julius, RJ) played… not so well. :P
    Even with Julius and RJ play, if we didn’t gifted them those stupid 1’s, if the CP3 prayer shot didn’t went in, it’s a 3 point game. And those 2 stupid inbounds where we threw the ball in and out of bounds directly (!?) which would have gave us a chance even with those other things i mentioned.
    And last but not least, one of the league’s better teams had to give it their all to beat us.
    I didn’t like it, but felt proud. Reminded me of the 90s, we would lose to the Bulls (most of the times) but we would put such an effort (no other team would do it like those Knicks teams) and lose such a competitive game by the slightest margin (with Jordan bringing his A game, 50-plus points a lot of the times) that i felt really proud of the team.

  4. I’m warming for the CP3 scenario. Would he opt out and accept a 1+1 (TO) max contract? Leon would (off the record) agree with him that if he plays well and lead us to at least the ECF, he’ll exercise the option.
    Changes for CP3 versus stay on the Suns one more year, money wise there are none (if we don’t exercise the option he’ll be a FA in 2022 just like he’d be before), situation wise it’s a big improvement to try to win with the Knicks than try to win with the Suns, i think.
    For the Knicks it’s a win-win, if he plays like the CP3 we know, we’ll exercise the option and have 2 great years. If not, we let him go after 1 year and follow the previous plan to add an impact player in 2022.
    Who’s with me?

  5. Given Paul’s role in the union, I don’t think he would let himself take a very team-friendly contract.

  6. Unless Leon senses (or knows) there’s better opportunities this summer, but i think there will not. Beal and Lavine are too pricey. Maybe KAT gets disgruntled (this one would be huge), but i doubt it. And that’s it, or am i missing something?

  7. Alan: Given Paul’s role in the union, I don’t think he would let himself take a very team-friendly contract.

    You’re probably right, but a man can dream. :)

  8. but this game was lost in june 2018,

    that’s a great line, Max!

    Mikal really poured salt in the wound last night. What a good player. And man would he look great between RJ and Randle (on both sides of the court).

  9. cybersoze: I’m warming for the CP3 scenario. Would he opt out and accept a 1 1 (TO) max contract?

    I do think he’s going to opt out and cash in on this season. If he opts in, he makes $44mm and then he’s peddling his age 38 & 39 seasons on the open market (I doubt he’ll get close to $40mm in the summer of 2022). But if he opts out, he can lock in one last big payday coming off a great season, like his fellow alien from another planet, LeBron, did at the same age.

    I think we’re in a unique position to afford to take a chance on him given how much cap space we have and how few great ways there are to spend it this summer and next.

  10. Hubert: I think we’re in a unique position to afford to take a chance on him given how much cap space we have and how few great ways there are to spend it this summer and next.

    Yeah, but the problem in giving him more than a 1 1 is that if he falls off a cliff, you’re cap strapped.
    Let’s say we give him a 3 year contract, for his age 36, 37 and 38 seasons. That covers the re-signing of Randle (and Mitch, by the way) in 2022 and RJ in 2023, so at the end of his contract (2024) we get back the cap space for CP3’s huge contract, but you’re probably over the cap by then.
    So this only works if he’s productive, because he’s your impact player for the next 3 years alongside Julius and RJ (there’ll be no money to add another one), and that’s a big if at the age he’s in.
    With this i’m not comfortable.

  11. What’s up with the plus sign, that keeps getting deleted when submitting the post?
    Where it reads “the problem in giving him more than a 1 1 is that if he falls off a cliff” should read “the problem in giving him more than a 1 PLUS 1 is that if he falls off a cliff“.

  12. Signing CP3 at all makes me nervous and anything more than a 1+1 would make me extremely nervous. I mean, he had a season not too long ago where he was hurt for most of it. And people keep saying Lebron is an alien but his first season in LA he missed a big chunk of it because of an injury and has missed a decent chunk of this season too. The Lakers are not a lock to just turn it on with a healthy Lebron in the playoffs.

    A pulled hamstring by CP3 and suddenly we have 40 plus million in dead cap space.

    But then I see what he did last night and what he’s done this season and last and I can’t help but imagine what the Knicks would look like with healthy CP3 instead of Elf. I mean, could we sign him and bring back the vets? Would we have the money to do that? Then we cut Knox and Frank and make our draft picks? Get a PG in the draft to learn from CP3 and DRose. You still have RJ, IQ, maybe Mitch getting better. Toppin too. I don’t know.

    And it is Thibs, after all. He’s gonna give CP3 all the minutes he can handle.

  13. Signing CP3 at all makes me nervous and anything more than a 1+1 would make me extremely nervous.

    It’s a reasonable concern, but it’s like the Lonzo Ball stuff. Ball’s going to cost a near max to get. It’s just how much it will be, so if you want to add him, that’s the cost. Similarly, Paul is not likely to opt out of his $44 million contract to take just a 1 and 1, especially since the Phoenix Suns will obviously be willing to pay the guy to keep him. He was an All-Star this year and has turned them into one of the best-performing teams in the NBA. So if you want to take him from that situation, you are going to have to pay him.

    As for cap space, they should have enough to make him a competitive offer, but if it remains in the $40 million range, the Knicks actually run out of cap room sort of quickly. If you add in the Knicks’ rostered guys, the Noah dead money (thanks, Mills and Perry!) and cap holds for Rose, Burks, Bullock and Noel, you’re already at $75 million without getting into the two first round draft picks (let’s say another $5 million there combined). The cap should be about $112 million, so forgetting the minimum cap holds for empty spots and you’re already looking at about $34 million per season as the high end (and more like $30 million once you do factor in those minimum cap holds). Would a three-year/$100 million contract be enough? I doubt it, but who knows?

  14. i’ve always been a big cp3 fan… he’s my favorite player … so i’ve always been very biased about getting cp3 here but it’s also just quite staggering how much of an impact he’s had on phoenix … a team that’s had some young players all hit their strides together… but altogether not very different from us…

    we’ve seen it up close with jason kidd but when you have a point guard like that it makes passing infectious… and does wonders for your ball movement… that’s in some ways indicative of how a point guard also makes everyone better… i’m sure monty has had a lot do with that also but if you think we’ve had a staggering transformation what’s happening in phoenix is even more bonkers if you’ve ever seen them at all in previous years… i can’t help but feel that cp3 has had a profound impact on them….

    i do think there is a cap to how good we can be with cp3…. mainly because rj’s timeline is maybe slightly behind cp3’s best basketball… but signing cp3 and drafting an heir apparent and letting all these young guys marinate for as long as he’s here isnt the worst plan in the world,….

  15. I’m against signing Paul. He’s a great player and would instantly take us to the next level, but I don’t think we’d be experienced enough or good enough to be considered a serious contender even with him. We’d still have some long term upside from RJ, Mitch, Quick etc.. but it would be occurring while CP3 was going down. CP3 is a kind of “all in” move and we are not there yet. I’d way rather add someone that has several peak years left or even better a little upside. It won’t be easy to find that someone, but we are not required by law to make a move if none of them make sense.

  16. swiftandabundant: But then I see what he did last night and what he’s done this season and last and I can’t help but imagine what the Knicks would look like with healthy CP3 instead of Elf. I mean, could we sign him and bring back the vets? Would we have the money to do that?

    Yes, we would have money to bring back the vets. And even to spend the midlevel (9.7M) on a backup PF, to not rely on Obi for that task and let him grow at the speed he can.
    If you want details i can put here my projected roster with CP3 and the vets.

  17. The real mystery factor is what to do with the four free agents that the Knicks presumably will want to bring back. Rose possibly might not want a big deal, but there’s no way that Noel and Burks took one year “prove it” deals to not take the biggest offers they get this offseason. Bullock is an interesting case, since they have his Early Bird Rights, but he’s had such a good season (and such a perfect type of player for the modern NBA) that how will he not get good offers from other teams? Especially with this free agency season being so lackluster, how will Burks, Noel and Bullock not get good offers out there? Offers that would make “Hey, take a one year deal and we promise to take care of you next year” look unreasonable in comparison.

    Rose, on the other hand, will probably take less money to stay, I bet. But even there, what’s “less money”? $9 million instead of $11 million?

  18. Yes, we would have money to bring back the vets. And even to spend the midlevel (9.7M) on a backup PF, to not rely on Obi for that task and let him grow at the speed he can.

    They would have to sign Paul with open cap space, no? So how would they have access to the midlevel?

  19. Not happy we lost but this loss does nothing to lessen my excitement. The game was in reach against a top 5 team in the league. I feel like it legitimizes the Knicks trajectory. But man! I do wish we could have stolen that game because Atlanta and Miami lost. The upcoming Chicago game feels like a good momentum re-builder.

    Who or what is this entity that has taken over Bullock’s body? Whatever it is, it is gonna fuck around and get him a multi-year deal. And considering we are expected to upgrade at the point this offseason, I have no problem with that..as long as it isn’t an overpay. If we “have” to overpay Bullock to bring him back, then we might as well keep Ntilikina and hope his corner 3 is real

  20. Brian Cronin: They would have to sign Paul with open cap space, no? So how would they have access to the midlevel?

    Yeah, you’re right, my math need more practice (like Thibs preach). I used the MLE and the Room exceptions at the same time. LOL
    And your number is also right, there’s only about 33M for CP3 and this with the cap holds to only Burks, Noel and Bullock. They would have to re-sign for 125% (non-bird) in the case of Burks(7.5M) and Noel(6.25M), and 175% (early bird) in the case of Bullock(7.35M). But as you said, they’ll get more money and sign for another team, so there’s no way to go for CP3 and keep the vets (maybe Bullock would stay, but not the other 2).
    I left DRose out, and would’ve sign him with the room exception (5M). Taj would be back on a vets minimum.

  21. Now, if we forget the option of re-signing Burks and Noel, as they’ll get expensive. Then we waive those 2 cap holds and we’ll have max money to throw at CP3.
    But then we replaced Elfrid with CP3 (huge improvement), but would have to replace Noel and Burks with guys earning the vets minimum (not so good). A good C for low money looks realistic, although i’ll miss Noel, but a guy like Burks would be a lot more difficult to obtain.

    [update] If Burks or Noel accept 7.3M, we’ll have money for one. So this plan isn’t so bad, if Burks accept that money or we find another similar player that does it.

  22. Chris Paul is still so god damn good you pretty much necessarily have to consider signing him if it’s a possibility, and like djphan I enjoy watching him so much I wouldn’t be upset about signing him even if I didn’t think it was the optimal move.

    However I still think the best-case scenario is having a relatively quiet offseason (try to re-sign the key guys on inflated one-year deals, explore short-term salary dumps, make good draft picks) and then making a huge push in the summer of 2022. I get that this would be a pretty unexciting way to follow up this season but the possibilities for 2022 really are that much better.

    If we sign CP3 I get the sense 15 years from now we’ll be lamenting the way his and Barrett’s primes just missed each other.

  23. If we sign CP3 I get the sense 15 years from now we’ll be lamenting the way his and Barrett’s primes just missed each other.

    Yep. That’s the problem.

    I understand that now that we are pretty good, some people want to build on that quickly. But where I was recommending trying to get better faster with some veterans previously so we would become a more attractive free agent and trade destination, get playoff experience, and move forward, now I’m recommending patience.

    We have no idea who will be available. It’s not just free agents. Sometimes players force trades. Sometimes teams decide to move in a new direction. We have a pretty good team, a good coach, management that appears to be competent, a few good young players to develop or trade, excess 1st round picks to draft or trade, and extra cap space. We are exactly where we want to be.

    Now is the time to sit back and see what’s available to improve the team short and long term. It’s not the time to rush into anything that makes us better in the short term but screws us up the long term.

  24. The question is how reliant would the Knicks have to be on CP3 being dominant for them to succeed? It seems pretty clear that the Suns are all in on CP3 (and that’s why I assume he’s not actually going to leave them), where if you remove him from the team, they’re not really all that good. If the Knicks are a middle of the road team without CP3 and with RJ hopefully continuing to develop, couldn’t they withstand the inevitable decline phase better then?

  25. Rose should take a pay cut, so that will actually free up money. We can sign him for below his cap hold & potentially fit a bigger contract.

    We may need to let Noel go. I hate to see it. But Cs just aren’t worth it. Pelle or a draft pick could takeover. God I love Noel.

    Burks could also potentially get replaced with more minutes from IQ & a PG not name Elfrid.

    Bullock’s defense has been pretty instrumental on the wing. I think he’s potentially the hardest to replace based on his shooting and excellent defense on the wing (as long as IQ can step up).

  26. @djphan & other draft gurus,

    Are there any athletic & defensive centers in the draft you like that might replace Noel eventually?

  27. the suns team is pretty much built around a guy like cp3… besides booker a lot of their guys have pretty high assisted fg%… the knicks are slightly different where randle and rj are pretty low but they both should see an efficiency bump if they handled the ball a little less… the players that would stand to benefit the most would be mitch and obi who could quite possibly recover a lot of his value playing next to one of the best distributors in the nba…

  28. Took a quick look, are there betting odds that we draft Kentucky alum Isaiah Jackson to replace Noel?

  29. Brian Cronin:
    The question is how reliant would the Knicks have to be on CP3 being dominant for them to succeed? It seems pretty clear that the Suns are all in on CP3 (and that’s why I assume he’s not actually going to leave them), where if you remove him from the team, they’re not really all that good. If the Knicks are a middle of the road team without CP3 and with RJ hopefully continuing to develop, couldn’t they withstand the inevitable decline phase better then?

    This is exactly it, and I am sure it is not lost on Chris Paul — we’re starting Elfrid Payton and missing Mitch, and we took a Suns team WITH CP3 all the way to the final possession or two (granted without Jae Crowder and Saric, who are important to them). We are undoubtedly ahead of where PHX was last year when CP3 joined them — the addition of CP3 has turned PHX into a top 5-6 team and a real contender. We are objectively a top 10 team right now without Paul and playing Elfrid Payton significant minutes. What would the Knicks be like with CP3 here (with the addition of more players given the cap space we have)? Probably not an inner circle contender, but certainly a favorite for a top 4 seed in the East.

  30. Early Bird:
    @djphan & other draft gurus,
    Are there any athletic & defensive centers in the draft you like that might replace Noel eventually?

    I’m no draft guru, but i have a name for you – Neemias Queta :)

  31. I’m no draft guru, but i have a name for you – Neemias Queta :)

    Jesus, if we could add him to the roster while keeping Noel and Pelle, along with IQ, Obi, etc., that is an incredibly formidable All-Name Team right there.

  32. cybersoze: I’m no draft guru, but i have a name for you – Neemias Queta :)

    Lol, how did I forget? But yeah, he’d be perfect actually. Rooting for Knicks to draft him for your sake!!

  33. Alan: Jesus, if we could add him to the roster while keeping Noel and Pelle, along with IQ, Obi, etc., that is an incredibly formidable All-Name Team right there.

    LOL! Yeah, his name is odd even here in Portugal, it’s maybe from his roots (Guinea-Bissau).

  34. If all you have to give up to get Chris Paul is a max contract for 2-3 years, you go get Chris Paul.

    There’s opportunity cost, sure. Other guys could be signed who are more on the upward slope of their career arc. But the core is young, and Paul would elevate the team to dark-horse contender status (sort of like how he’s done in Phoenix – that’s a very good team but I’m not buying that they can actually win it all without a fair bit of luck along the way).

    It’s not at all like getting Melo – where we basically sacrificed the young core and led the team into a decade of darkness.

  35. Alan: Jesus, if we could add him to the roster while keeping Noel and Pelle, along with IQ, Obi, etc., that is an incredibly formidable All-Name Team right there.

    I think were only allowed one Q, but it’s worth 10pts

  36. Its not like Melo at all but if CP3 wants to actually go to the Finals and win a ring, he should consider coming here at a price that will allow us to resign our current vets and/or upgrade at certain positions. I mean, dude has made a TON of money in his career, tons of all-star appearances, etc. What he hasn’t done is win a ring or even get to the Finals. If he does either/both of those things as the starting point guard for the NEW YORK KNICKS? He is legend status. Not only that it would not be perceived a super friends Miami Big 3 situation or a Durant Warriors or Durant/Kyrie/Harden Nets situation because while Randle is now an all-star, he’s not in that elite elite status and the rest of the team would be RJ, etc.

    So yeah, I think we got a shot and I think if CP3 is serious about a ring, he should do it for a “discount.”

  37. my idea of not needing to bring back noel hinges on the fact that there are readily available bigs that can fulfull bench minutes respectably…

    taj … out of everyone.. should be very affordable… give him perpetual one year deals like haslem for all i care… he’s proven he can handle nba minutes… and i doubt he falls off a cliff if there’s no injury…. if we draft someone then he doesn’t even need to break 1000 minutes….

    there’s a couple of decent bigs being mocked in the 2nd round…. cyber’s boy… neemias queta is one who is very underrated and his calling card in the pros will be his defense… he’s not as good laterally and doesn’t have mind flayer arms like noel does but he definitely has better hands….

    but the most interesting guy is charles bassey… bassey is one of the most underrated guys in the entire draft.. not only is he excellent defensively but he’s got offensive potential also… his arsenal not includes a solid low post game but also range on his jumper and he is physically imposing on both ends of the floor… he’s a junior but still only 20… he’s got a weird background like mitch had and coincidentally that overlapped tenures at western kentucky… but he’s every bit of a physical specimen that mitch was… maybe slightly smaller but makes up for it in offensive potential…

    isaiah jackson is also pretty good but the consensus is that he’s in the first…. whereas the others are solidly in the 2nd… but they all should be rated right around each other in my estimates…

  38. The fascinating thing about the Suns is that they’ll have the mid-level to use next season and I imagine they could probably also make a decent offer for a third star using Ayton as the main piece. What if the Suns, say, sign Noel with the mid-level and trade Ayton for an upgrade on Crowder. That’d be a sick team, right?

    Paul/Payne
    Booker/Craig
    Bridges/Johnson
    Crowder upgrade/Crowder
    Noel/Saric

  39. djphan: isaiah jackson is also pretty good but the consensus is that he’s in the first…. whereas the others are solidly in the 2nd… but they all should be rated right around each other in my estimates…

    Yeah, definitely rather use a 2nd for a C. Just seems like a waste of a 1st at this point unless they’re KAT or Embiid level prospects.

  40. Brian Cronin:
    The fascinating thing about the Suns is that they’ll have the mid-level to use next season and I imagine they could probably also make a decent offer for a third star using Ayton as the main piece. What if the Suns, say, sign Noel with the mid-level and trade Ayton for an upgrade on Crowder. That’d be a sick team, right?

    Paul/Payne
    Booker/Craig
    Bridges/Johnson
    Crowder upgrade/Crowder
    Noel/Saric

    Hard to imagine that they would trade Ayton (The guy they took over Luka, while their coach at the time was Luka’s coach!) and replace him with Noel, but that’s just me.

    I’m not sure Ayton’s trade value is that great tbh. His efficiency is up and his team defense is better but usage is down, is likely benefiting from the Chris Paul effect, and isn’t a floor spacer or real rim protector.

    In short, another *facepalm* *smh* pick when Luka Doncic was on the board.

  41. My Knicks fandom and Sopranos expertise intersect, in an Athletic story about Jim Gandolfini and Edie Falco playing Tony and Carmela one last time for the LeBron recruitment video.

  42. Hard to imagine that they would trade Ayton (The guy they took over Luka, while their coach at the time was Luka’s coach!) and replace him with Noel, but that’s just me.

    They tend to close out with Saric, and Ayton will need to be extended soon, so now would be the time to trade him. He’s still a #1 pick averaging 15 points and 10.7 rebounds a game.

  43. Brian Cronin
    April 27, 2021 at 11:30 am

    “if you remove [Paul] from the team, the [Suns] not really all that good. If the Knicks are a middle of the road team without CP3 and with RJ hopefully continuing to develop, couldn’t they withstand the inevitable decline phase better then?”

    *

    The Suns of last year are kind of like the Knicks of this year. A young team that “came of age” at the end of an odd and interrupted season. The Suns went 8-0 in the bubble, and then added Paul. It’s not unfathomable to think that without Paul, they’d still have continued to win games this year at a significant rate. Adding him was a great move that probably put them from “good upwardly mobile team” to “legit contender”, which he could possibly do for the Knicks too should he transfer. But, yeah, why would he want to? He chose Phoenix for a reason (not because of no live crowds at MSG), and it’s worked out as well as anyone could have hoped for there for him AND the team. Best to focus on Lowry and Ball…

  44. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about unexpectedly becoming a low-grade playoff team, it’s that there’s not a player in this league that we won’t spend dozens of posts in acquisition speculation after one solid performance against the Knicks. We should make a poll before every game — “Who’s going to torch the Knicks’s D tonight?” — because it will indicate whose contract length and size we should spend our time researching in preparation for the next ten threads.

  45. The flip side to Jowles’ post is how frequently we casually move on from our players, at least on this thread. I get it, and it’s about continuing to team build, but some part of it strikes me as partially living in the last 20 years of hell, when in fact our players largely sucked. For example, I’ll always be first in line to make fun of Noel’s hands, but he’s a fucking artist on the defensive side. I’m not entirely sure there’s a million Noels in the NBA center scrap heap.

    Ditto Burks and Bullock. Just from a 3-pter perspective, Bullock is hitting at a .409 clip, Burks at .408. You look at the list of other players around or above them, and I’m not sure many/any of those players are going to be available. I mean, they’re beating Bertans and Duncan Robinson. And many of the equivalent shooters are not really good at some of the other things B&B are also good at.

    By the way, even with Barrett’s incredibly bad start to the season, he’s at .386 from 3 now. Better than JJ Reddick, Patty Mills, and Jason Tatum (and Chris Paul). It’s crazy.

  46. For obvious positional glut reasons I’m as wary as everyone else of going overboard to keep Nerlens, but I would also argue he’s a legitimate upgrade over the generic rim-running types who are available every offseason. I don’t think it’s particularly easy to find rim-protectors as good as him, so if we can keep him without damaging our flexibility I’d like to do so. Another one-year deal at whatever raise we can offer him without stopping us from pursuing more intriguing opportunities makes sense, and then we can reevaluate everything in 2022.

    Having said that both Bassey and Queeta are intriguing options in the second round, though the Detroit pick is close enough to a first that I’d still prefer a guard/wing.

    I am also gonna keep banging the “give Bullock 1/$17M this offseason, then renounce him and give him a 2 year room exception deal in 2022 as to effectively give him a 3/$27M deal without having him on your books during the summer of 2022” drum. I can talk myself into Noel and Burks being replaceable, but I would really, really like to keep Bullock.

  47. I say go after Lonzo, who, at worst, is a big lead guard who can make threes and is a very good perimeter defender. RJ will become more of a penetrator and we can eventually upgrade at the wing.

    Get Lonzo and keep Bullock/Burks/Rose. Draft bpa. If they can’t get Lonzo, it will be interesting to see if they go after Schroeder. He’s still “relatively” young and seems like a Thibs type, but idk what he would cost at this point.

  48. Are we so sure Nerlens is going to be getting a big contract from somebody else? He’s having the same season for us that he has already had for three other teams. It’s not like he has just had a breakthrough season. He does this every year, and he’s still making peanuts.

    We could probably bring him back for a teensy bit more than he made this year. I don’t know why there’s all of a sudden some supposedly hot market for him.

  49. Raven: but he’s a fucking artist on the defensive side. I’m not entirely sure there’s a million Noels in the NBA center scrap heap.

    Noel, as good as he is and as integral to our teams as he is, can be replaced more easily than the rest of the players. Whoever you get off the scrapheap won’t give you 100% Noel but it’s a smaller drop-off from Noel to random C than from Burks or Bullock to a league minimum wing. How much do you really want to pay Noel when we already have Mitch? Or do we keep Noel and trade Mitch?

    It may make sense to re-sign these guys and trade them away later too, but if we build toward a championship something has to budge unless we luck into an all-star in the draft.

    If Noel is available for roughly the same money, then definitely keep him.

  50. Raven: By the way, even with Barrett’s incredibly bad start to the season, he’s at .386 from 3 now. Better than JJ Reddick, Patty Mills, and Jason Tatum (and Chris Paul). It’s crazy.

    I didn’t realize RJ attempted 9 threes last night, that has to be a career high. He made 3 of them, which is respectable, but there were a few misses in the 2nd half that would have been real momentum changers.

    He should keep taking them though.

  51. Are we so sure Nerlens is going to be getting a big contract from somebody else? He’s having the same season for us that he has already had for three other teams. It’s not like he has just had a breakthrough season. He does this every year, and he’s still making peanuts.

    Statistically, it’s similar. But the narrative and the context are different. He’s starting and playing big minutes on a team that’s been one of the stories of the season. Wasserman did that glowing write-up on him. I’m sure there have been others. In previous stops, he’s either come off the bench or played for bad teams, for the most part. That might be enough to get some GM to look at him in a different light.

    Or maybe the whole league now looks at non-shooting bigs as fungible, and we can get him back at only a slight raise over his current deal. Who knows?

  52. JK47: Are we so sure Nerlens is going to be getting a big contract from somebody else? He’s having the same season for us that he has already had for three other teams. It’s not like he has just had a breakthrough season. He does this every year, and he’s still making peanuts.

    I’ve been singing this tune recently, too. I don’t think the big offer we fear is coming.

    And if it is, I love Noel but we can roll with Mitch and Taj at C for peanuts.

  53. the thing with Paul is that a 2 year deal doesn’t really hurt you long term but it’s going to be hard to then avoid deals that DO harm you long term. How much self control will it take to not peddle Obi and picks for the missing piece?

    I really hope Lavine has a meeting with the Bulls this summer and becomes available. I would put a lot of chips on the table to have a Paul-Lavine-Barrett-Randle-Mitch starting 5, with a bench of IQ, Bullock, Taj and whomever.

  54. Yeah, the narrative of Noel as the starter on a Knicks team winning nine straight games and getting to the #4 seed is a lot more impressive than him backing up Steven Adams for a surprising OKC team, especially since Noel was in OKC the year before, as well. He’s been averaging 27.5 minutes since Mitch went down. I’m not saying the guy is going to get maxed out or anything like that, but you’re not getting him for a one year “make good” deal anymore. That was the whole point of him taking a one-year “made good” deal. Same with Burks. You take these deals to prove your value so you get a multi-year deal the next offseason that you couldn’t get before you, in fact, “made good.”

  55. In the meantime, someone please explain to me how it is that Marty Feldman is leading the league in 3-pt %…

  56. And if it is, I love Noel but we can roll with Mitch and Taj at C for peanuts.

    so weird that we’ll have a whole different set of challenges this off-season than what we normally do…

  57. I personally think we should let Burks, Payton, Rose, and Gibson walk. We should resign Bullock if it is a good deal (less than $10 million) but not until we explore free agent options. I think I am the opposite on Noel to everyone else. He should be the #1 priority to resign. A two headed monster with him and Robinson long term should be our goal. I then like keeping Pelle as the 3rd stringer that way we don’t lose the rim protection, if one of them is hurt or in foul trouble.

    Our goal this offseason should be upgrading our starting PG spot and then with that plus two 1st rounders, hopefully a wing and a PG it makes Payton, Burks, and Rose redundant. Then with Robinson coming back and Toppin improving it makes Gibson redundant as well.

    After that we just need to sign one additional wing to start which would either be Bullock or someone else’s if the opportunity to upgrade comes along.

    Rose and Burks are short term solutions and we need to be looking longer term so if possible both should be replaced hopefully by our new rookies.

  58. Cap space is also at a premium this summer so it’s likely Noel’s absolute max offer is the MLE, and I’m not sure he’ll get that. 25m/3, that feels to me like he both ‘proves it’ but also that it’s not a terrible deal for us to give him. 8m AAV vs his 5m this year – not so bad? What do people think is ‘too much’ for him?

  59. I love the idea of CP3 on the team next year but for the multi-year deal we’d need to give? Not sure.

    Thinking across the next two summers, I would love to see us acquire Ball and Lavine – a starting 5 of Ball, Lavine, RJ, Randle and Mitch addresses a lot of our issues on offense this year and only Lavine is a real worry on the other end. If we can hit a role player or two with our picks and hang onto Noel and one of Burks or Reggie I think we’d be in great shape. I haven’t tried to work out if we can do all that with cap space over two summers – I suspect not.

  60. Noel has scored 5.1 PPG in 24 MPG this season and his usage is by far the lowest of his career. He has taken 9 3PA in his entire career and has an AST% of 4.4. He is not getting a big contract this offseason. The Knicks should offer him something like 4/$28M and double his career earnings. Long-term security should be a thing he values at this point in his career. Looking for that Dallas phantom max is a fool’s errand. Hopefully he knows that by now.

  61. my new returning player priority list:
    reggie
    rose
    burks
    noel
    taj
    norvel

    yeah, i guess the big guys are a little less critical in regards to replacing…

  62. “When there is time
    The time travels
    To have it as your friend
    You need to travel with it
    Stand still
    Let it flow
    Feel the currents
    Resist the pull
    And then
    Close your eyes
    And let go”

  63. Meanwhile Mavs @ Warriors tonight. Looking for Steph to go off and keep my fever dream – wherein the Knicks finish in 4th and win a series while the Mavs crater in the playoff, drop into the lottery and then get a top four pick – alive.

  64. The Wizards winning eight in a row while the Knicks were winning nine in a row was…pretty fucking weird, right?

  65. Spencer Dinwiddie has an $11M player option next year. He’s almost back from his injury. Interested if he opts out? he’s not a great shooter, but he can pass and he can score.

  66. I think I am the opposite on Noel to everyone else. He should be the #1 priority to resign. A two headed monster with him and Robinson long term should be our goal.

    That sounds great to me but it might be a tough sell to Mitch & Noel. I don’t think either of those
    guys will be happy backing up the other.

    That’s the real thing with Noel. A team doesn’t have to offer him big money. The starting job could be enough.

  67. Agreed in principle, but how many teams actually need a starting center and would pick Noel? I can’t think if a reasonable opening for him. Also, a lot of NBA players don’t want to move if they can avoid it. Many free agents stay with their teams for that reason.

  68. Agreed in principle, but how many teams actually need a starting center and would pick Noel?

    I am curious if the Nets would offer noel the taxpayer mid level. I think he would help them tremendously, but they only have one bullet to shoot this summer.

  69. Also, a lot of NBA players don’t want to move if they can avoid it. Many free agents stay with their teams for that reason.

    Noel clearly came her to get a better deal for next season. I’m not saying he won’t re-sign with the Knicks if they make a competitive offer, but he wasn’t coming here to make $5 million a year on one year deals. He literally fired his agent because he was mad that he had to split time with Mitch here, as he wanted a starting job to up his next contract offer. That’s precisely what he got when Mitch went down.

  70. Once again, the Knicks have their best night when they don’t play! All the Eastern Conference teams we wanted to lose lost.

  71. Hubert: I am curious if the Nets would offer noel the taxpayer mid level. I think he would help them tremendously, but they only have one bullet to shoot this summer.

    The Nets are an interesting idea for him. He doesn’t have to move, and he’s still playing on a winning team. I mentally ruled them out because they seem committed to DeAndre Jordan as their starting center even though I agree with you that they would be a better team with Noel starting. But you could be right. It may depend on how they do in the playoffs.

  72. JK47:
    Mets can’t hit for shit. Doesn’t matter what scrub pitcher they’re facing

    As a Yankees fan this season I feel your pain.

  73. Well, as CP3 won’t opt out and accept the 1-plus-1 max, i’m out on him. More years? No, thank you. You can’t max a guy that’s going to retire afterwards, leaving you above the cap without the possibility of replacing his money with another impact player. Above the cap you can never let the money go to the trash bin (of course, you shouldn’t waste it on guys like Wiggins either, like the Warriors, but that’s another story).
    I think this was one of the reasons Leon didn’t overpay Hayward, because the much money you had put on Hayward, the greater trade exception the Celtics would have, leaving them with a lot of room to make improvements. Maybe even Leon stopped wanting him the minute he knew it was a sign and trade, because Boston having him go away and his money on the cap go to waste was the best for their opponents. And of course Charlotte is dumb enough to do it. But hey, they must grab every player that wants to play there, right? LOL
    Building a roster to contend is much more tricky than it seems on the surface, and i’m not used to it. :P

  74. The streak is over. But the work continues.
    Let’s keep fighting
    I watch this game on

  75. Building a roster to contend is much more tricky than it seems on the surface, and i’m not used to it. :P

    Definitely. Before we used to debate just who would be a decent player, but now we have decent players. We don’t just want equivalent players we want better players, and that is hard.

  76. About Noel getting a starter job, there’s a team with a glaring hole at center, they’re playing a 6’7 PF there (that’s a little too much small ball for my taste). That team is fighting with us for the playoffs, i think it’s easy to guess, but i’ll leave it as the trivia question for today.
    And by the way, removing already from the trivia question one of our opponents for the playoffs, the Celtics could also use Noel as the starter and Robert Williams as the backup, for a great tandem at C. But as Ainge is a cheap guy, i don’t expect him to see it.

  77. Knick fan not in NJ: Definitely.Before we used to debate just who would be a decent player, but now we have decent players.We don’t just want equivalent players we want better players, and that is hard.

    Exactly. ;) But of course i’m going to try to improve my “inner GM” knowledge, and our discussions are great for it. :)

  78. The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    Noel has scored 5.1 PPG in 24 MPG this season and his usage is by far the lowest of his career. He has taken 9 3PA in his entire career and has an AST% of 4.4. He is not getting a big contract this offseason. The Knicks should offer him something like 4/$28M and double his career earnings. Long-term security should be a thing he values at this point in his career. Looking for that Dallas phantom max is a fool’s errand. Hopefully he knows that by now.

    It’s not to say that some team won’t give Noel more than this, but it is very hard to see a team giving Noel starters’ minutes and a big contract unless you’re talking about a really bad or dumb team. What good team might have a starting spot available for him? Maybe Boston as someone mentioned, maybe the Clippers. But both these teams will be in the tax in 2021-22 and so the max they can offer him is the taxpayer MLE which is I think about $6MM/year. That feels like about Noel’s market unless he wants to go languish somewhere as a starter for a bad/dumb team. IMHO if the Knicks offer him 3 for 20 he probably should take it. I am not sure I would even offer that if I were the Knicks. Noel’s a very good defender but no surprise to anyone here, is really limited offensively. A floor-spacing 5 that can defend the rim and the PNR is what this team needs – literally a unicorn. Short of that though, even a rim-running big with good hands (ie. Mitch) is always going to be more valuable than Noel.

    I guess he might be able to find more suitors in a S&T manner, but it’s still hard to find a fit.

    At the end of the day, he’s not going to be more than a 20-25 min center on a good team. Can’t spend big $ on that.

  79. Boston hired Kanter in the past and now has Tristan Thompson. They seem to me to look for a center with scoring. The Heat has Adebayo, Atlanta has Capela, So maybe you are referring to Charlotte who has Biyombo and Zeller, but doesn’t start either of them? They are currently 18th in offense and 16th in defense and they’re a team that paid a big salary to Hayward. It’s hard for me to think they are going to go after a low scoring role player at center with whatever free agency money they have, but I certainly wouldn’t rule it out.

    Overall I agree with those who say that Noel won’t get spectacular offers. But I will hedge a little. Teams in the NBA tend to imitate other teams’ success. If we are successful enough in the rest of the year and other teams conclude that part of that is due to our taste in centers, the price for such players could go up from where it is now.

  80. @KFINJ – good point, I forgot about Charlotte. Definitely a possibility. They have tons of cap space coming up although they have to figure out what they want to do with Devonte Graham and Monk. Figure they’ll only bring back one of these guys given Rozier and Ball are pretty entrenched.

  81. Knick fan not in NJ: So maybe you are referring to Charlotte who has Biyombo and Zeller, but doesn’t start either of them?

    And you get the bicycle*! ;)

    * – i don’t know if this is a portuguese expression (to have won something… a prize) or if it’s global.

  82. We really need to win these next two games. I don’t think we’ll go 0-4 on the western road trip, but we certainly could.

  83. Alan:
    We really need to win these next two games. I don’t think we’ll go 0-4 on the western road trip, but we certainly could.

    Yeah tonight’s game is huge, the Bulls probably feel it’s a must win for them as well. Hopefully Lavine is still out.

  84. I’m not too worried about tonight’s game because we have a coach who keeps this team prepared. I’m sure they know a win tonight coupled with a likely loss by Atlanta keeps us in 4th place. 4th or 5th place doesn’t really matter to me because I think we’d be favored against Atlanta regardless, but for this team to host a playoff series? After everybody had them as a bottom five team and Woj called them a rudderless roster after Fiz was fired? You have to think they want to keep that four seed and will handle business tonight against Chicago.

  85. Just read that Thibs apparently “covets” Norm Powell. Can’t help but think he would be a Burks replacement. It also seems like Derozan is a real possibility. He’s quietly having a good year but is 31. I’m also not sure Lonzo’s the answer. It’s going to be a very tricky offseason.

  86. Alan: We really need to win these next two games. I don’t think we’ll go 0-4 on the western road trip, but we certainly could.

    Make it 3, Alan. I think we need to win CHI, @HOU, @MEM. By that time if we have improved the 2 game separation from the 6th/7th seed, we could face the remaining 4 games of the road trip knowing that even if we go 0-4, we’ll have the last 3 games at home to make up for it.

  87. I’m starting to believe that we’ll be in the 4th/5th game… what a great year! :)

  88. “You know what I’m saying: the cool thing now is not the Knicks.”

    I’m very happy this quote has aged so well! :D

  89. This has been a fantastic season so far, the coaching staff did a great job, many players overachieved expectations and we took a big step forward.
    But overachieving tends to blur perspectives.

    I’m still taking one game at the time, we’re favorite against Chicago and Houston but still have to win the games on the court and the game in Memphis will be hard.
    We were lucky to win the first meeting, now JJJ is back and they’re fighting tooth and nails for positioning (just like us)., it will not be easy.

    Getting home field advantage would be great, but just avoiding the play-in tournament would be a resounding success.

    This is still a team in need of a robust infusion of talent, we have only six players signed for next year including Kevin Knox (not counting Pelle), at least five significant contributors becoming FA and too many draft picks for our coach’s taste.
    I’m very curious about what the offseason will bring.

  90. Chris isn’t a great player anymore (unlike Lebron). He’s a very good player, a borderline all star player. So if you’re giving him 40 million you’re already steeply overpaying. On a short contract that’s not the end of the world, but anything more than that would be insanely risky. I doubt he even wants to leave Phoenix if he’s chasing a ring, they might be the 1 seed in the West and they’re getting better.

  91. I actually think DeRozan could be a sneaky good move for us. His 3 point shooting is still not good but with RJ and Randle both stepping up in that department, if we got a better 3 point shooting PG (Lonzo?) DeRozan could fit in nicely for us.

    Randle, RJ and Derozan with Rose/IQ/Burks/Toppin off the bench is probably plenty of scoring. Also, he is ONLY 31, so you get him for 3 years, you probably still have peak level. And he’s just finished playing for POP, so you know he’s gonna bring the professionalism. I think DeRozan is kind of in that category of guys who was overrated for awhile but now the advanced stats people don’t like him, so he’s now a bit underrated. But the article below points to him taking more 3’s and who knows, maybe he gets that percentage up next season. His all around game is pretty solid though.

    This recent ringer article was a nice.

    https://www.theringer.com/nba/2021/1/8/22220471/demar-derozan-spurs-trade-free-agency

  92. The New York Knicks are trying to immediately add Luca Vildoza from Baskonia to their roster according to Spanish Hoops scribe @chemadelucas

    Anyone know anything about him?

  93. Alan: Anyone know anything about him?

    Hard to find anything on him, other than he didn’t go to Kentucky.

  94. There is some video of him on youtube. He looks decent, but I can’t see him contributing anything this year.

  95. Getting home field advantage would be great, but just avoiding the play-in tournament would be a resounding success.

    We seem to be getting some help with teams below us losing games they should win, but we are not a lock to avoid the play in tournament. We have a couple of games we are supposed to win remaining (like Chicago tonight), but none of them are automatics. We also have several I’d be shocked to win. The Bulls are still trying to get into the play in tournament. They are coming to play tonight, shorthanded or not. We HAVE TO win tonight because this road trip could be brutal.

  96. Alan: The New York Knicks are trying to immediately add Luca Vildoza from Baskonia to their roster according to Spanish Hoops scribe @chemadelucas

    Is Baskonia next to Fredonia?

  97. Just watched Vildoza highlights
    If Prigioni and Campazzo had a baby it would be Vildoza
    Classic crafty, feisty Argentinian pg
    I’m in

  98. Vorkunov:

    Alec Burks is back with the Knicks and out of the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the team says

  99. Yeah, I can’t say the front office isn’t giving me some confidence. Love the sound of this guy.

  100. Sounds like the new guy is coming at the expense of a payday for Simi Shittu, per Begley:

    After a late change of plans, NYK will not sign Simi Shittu, sources say. Club has an open roster spot. Sources confirm NYK has been in talks with Argentinian G Luca Vildoza to add him to roster. @hoopshype reports there’s a deal in place. @chemadelucas earlier reported talks.

  101. Looks like Luca has a sick floater game and is pretty good from three (and is only 25). Hopefully he can defend.

  102. ess-dog:
    Looks like Luca has a sick floater game and is pretty good from three (and is only 25). Hopefully he can defend.

    He’s been near the top in steals in EuroLeague & ACB for multiple years. Doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a good defender, but that’s promising. Plus, we’re not great at forcing turnovers so it might add a new dimension.

    Kinda hope it’s a longterm contract. We still have plenty of cap space to sign him outright for a multi-year deal.

    Good numbers in high-level Europe basketball, maybe a few too many turnovers, but seems like a really good player on the younger side.

  103. ess-dog:
    Looks like Luca has a sick floater game and is pretty good from three (and is only 25). Hopefully he can defend.

    probably can whip up a good mixed grill barbeque plate…given the argentian roots…

  104. From a name perspective, Luca Vildoza is also an awesome name. Simi Shittu is a funnier name, but less cool than Luca Vildoza. Approve of either signing.

  105. Baskonia is the team from the Basque Country, hence the name, that plays in the Euroleague and Spanish top league. One of the top european teams.

    Looks like Luca has a sick floater game and is pretty good from three (and is only 25). Hopefully he can defend.

    An argentinian that doesn’t play defense? That guy probably isn’t born yet! LOL

  106. I’m just catching up on the thread, but one thing that’s probably not getting enough attention is that Mitch has not exactly been an iron man. He’s been injured a LOT. So having a REALLY good backup like Noel may be more important to us than some other teams. I like Noel a lot. I didn’t think we’d lose all that much with him starting while Mitch was out and I think I turned out to be right. But without him, as good as Taj has been in limited minutes, there’s not way we’d be in this position.

  107. Deeefense: I’m just catching up on the thread, but one thing that’s probably not getting enough attention is that Mitch has not exactly been an iron man. He’s been injured a LOT. So having a REALLY good backup like Noel may be more important to us than some other teams. I like Noel a lot. I didn’t think we’d lose all that much with him starting while Mitch was out and I think I turned out to be right. But without him, as good as Taj has been in limited minutes, there’s not way we’d be in this position.

    I think we all want to keep Noel, it’s a question of how badly we want to keep him. In other words, what price do we say no? The other question is who do we keep if we need to choose between Bullock, Burks, & Noel?

    I’m not sure the salary we all list would be too far apart, so it really just depends on the demand other teams have for Noel.

    It’s more about maximizing our salary cap, and C is just the position most flush with scrap heap talent. And maybe Mitch is injury prone, certainly watching him he plays like a guy you expect to get injured a lot, but he’s played most his games prior to his year.

  108. Yeah I don’t know if injury prone is an accurate way to describe Mitch. Before this year, he’s missed minimal time and has just had some minor injuries that most players have. He definitely isn’t nearly as injury prone as, I don’t know….Porzingis :)

    Both of his injuries this year were kind of freak injuries. Not injuries that happen to someone who is injury prone.

    I would love to get Noel and Mitch back for similar numbers. Either one can start and both will have chances because Thibs loves to play hard and wants tough Centers, so missing time is probably inevitable for all of our centers.

    Also, our recent win streak and how well Noel has done with Mitch out has made us forget how good Mitch was on D this year. Keep in mind, Mitch played most of his minutes this season before Elf had his minutes curtailed and before we signed Rose. While Noel is great, Mitch is still just as good on D and the better offensive threat. If he hadn’t gotten hurt and was now getting more minutes with Rose and Elf, we’d probably see him catching more lobs, etc. Noel has been fantastic, no doubt, but I think we would have had this win streak with Mitch too.

  109. I hate being this excited by a player signing and having so little info. Been refreshing Twitter & google news feeds every few minutes

  110. Both of his injuries this year were kind of freak injuries. Not injuries that happen to someone who is injury prone.

    That’s what everyone used to tell me about Porzingis before the ACL. After he was traded if he got shot in an hunting accident they’d say he was injury prone. :-)

    Basketball is a contact sport where you get banged, twisted, land awkwardly, step on other people’s feet etc.. Some bodies handle it better than others. IMO, two fractures is not a good sign, especially a foot problem for a big man. That’s a bit troubling. It may turn out to be random nonsense, but I want a very good back C until I know.

  111. I think we all want to keep Noel, it’s a question of how badly we want to keep him. In other words, what price do we say no? The other question is who do we keep if we need to choose between Bullock, Burks, & Noel?

    I think you try to keep all three unless you can sign an upgrade for one of them. It’s on management to figure out the timing and price they are willing to pay. If we only keep one of Bullock and Burks I’d be disappointed (the exception being an upgrade), but out of the three I’d let either Burks or Bullock go because one of them is going to be coming off the bench anyway . All three are important, but I think we need a quality backup C because if Mitch going down becomes a habit, we have problems without Noel.

  112. i’m imagining RJ was a serious pain in the ass as a kid:
    @MikeVorkunov
    From the Depart of ‘Oh God I Feel Old’:

    Asked RJ Barrett about watching Derrick Rose back in his Bulls heyday and incorrectly said he was a teenager back then.

    “Teenager?” Barrett said. “I was like 8.”

  113. Vildoza’s numbers are definitely intriguing and he’s put them up against some of the best non-NBA competition in the world (IIRC some people regard Liga ACB as literally the best non-NBA competition in the wold). Hope it’s a multiyear deal, seems like a good move.

  114. Deeefense: if Mitch going down becomes a habit, we have problems without Noel.

    Yes, but if Mitch doesn’t go down & Noel signs to a multi-year contract we’re looking at spending $16-20M a year on the C position. It’s just not an efficient use of cap space. What’s the opportunity cost of signing Noel? Alternatively, we may be able to trade Noel for an asset at some point even on a somewhat unfair deal. I think it’s an interesting question either way.

    Deeefense: I think you try to keep all three unless you can sign an upgrade for one of them. It’s on management to figure out the timing and price they are willing to pay. If we only keep one of Bullock and Burks I’d be disappointed (the exception being an upgrade), but out of the three I’d let either Burks or Bullock go because one of them is going to be coming off the bench anyway .

    If we keep all 3 it eats into our 2022 cap space which prevents us from upgrading the roster or potentially requires us using up an asset to move one of their contracts. It may make sense to do it anyways, and I’d probably advocate for it, but there’s certainly risks involved in that option if there’s a heavy market for them.

    There may be no issue, but I do think we can speculate about what the players are worth. It’s a big part of what we do here.

  115. I think you try to keep all three unless you can sign an upgrade for one of them. It’s on management to figure out the timing and price they are willing to pay.

    The very questions underlying this conversation are:

    1) Are there upgrades available?

    2) At what price(s) should we balk?

    It’s very easy to say “we should re-sign all of them if there are no upgrades available and they’re all willing to sign contracts that don’t come with significant opportunity costs.” That’s not the important question.

  116. I would think that all three would be willing/want to come back if they are paid fairly. I mean, maybe our success will really up their value but I would think we could keep them all without breaking the bank. if they’re each getting 3 year deals at a reasonable price, all three would be tradeable in the future IF an upgrade became available.

    They aren’t exactly young prospects that a team trading a star would want as building blocks, but they are useful players that contenders might want and a team could flip them later for something.

    What would be ideal would be to bring them back and then bring in one more young up and coming player like Ball or the Dallas kid who’s name I can never remember. I honestly think that kind of approach plus making our draft picks is the way to go. The team can run back the same crew and get better just because of continuity and RJ/IQ/Mitch possibly all improving.

  117. I’m more inclined to bring back those 3 because it’s such a weak FA class.

    I could also see the Knicks trying to do something like bring in DeRozan & Lowry.

    Lowry/Rose/Vildoza
    DeRozan/IQ
    RJ/Knox
    Randle/Obi
    Mitch/Pelle

    Plus 4 rookies.

    DeRozan is problematic because he can’t shoot, but that’s a big offensive upgrade overall.

    It’s not my favorite option by any means, but thought I’d throw it out there.

    Lowry would need to take a massive paycut, but he’ll probably need to take one anyway. Or we could sell Knox for more room.

  118. The reason the Raptors didn’t trade Lowry is because they feel there will be a robust sign and trade market for Lowry (essentially calling the bluffs on the teams that wouldn’t trade for him this season). Basically, the teams that were in on him during the season that then go on to lose in the playoffs would presumably still be in on him in the offseason, ya know?

    So Lowry could definitely be an option for the Knicks this offseason, but it won’t be at a discount (well, you know, not a sizable discount. Lowry ain’t going to be making $30 million per year any more, of course, but I think $25 million is still likely).

  119. Man – Boston losing to OKC is pretty amazing. OKC, Houston, and Orlando are really the only teams that are mega-tanking. Even Minnesota has been pretty good since Russell came back. In fact, if you look at strength of schedule going forward, I have serious doubts that Miami is going to make a run.

    Their remaining games – SA, @CLE, @CHA, DAL, MIN, @BOS, @BOS, PHI, MIL, Detroit.

    Milwaukee probably will be locked into the 3rd seed at that point but Philly probably will still have something to play for – especially since Philly historically has been so much better at home, including this year. But I wouldn’t be surprised if MIA lost to SA, CHA, DAL, MIN, split with Boston, loses to PHI. That would mean they’d finish right at .500. They have the tiebreaker over us, so to stay out of the playin we’d only need to win 3 games in that scenario.

    Boston has CHA, SA, POR, @ORL, @CHI, MIA, MIA, @CLE, @MIN, @NYK

    They could easily lose, say, 5 games before the season ending game with us – that would put them at 36-35 before that last game. Seems to me if we can get to 38 wins we should be in good shape to avoid the play-in and prob get into the 4-5 round. So these two very winnable games against CHI and HOU are huge, before we run that gauntlet on the west coast. The Spurs basically waxed the floor with us last game, so I wouldn’t expect to win that game. Hopefully we can win at least 2 of the games against MEM, DEN, PHX, LAC, LAL.

  120. Brian Cronin:
    Is Lebron set to be back by the Knicks/Lakers game?

    Yes he does… it’s the last game of our trip so it’s still two weeks away,
    he’s trying to come back next week…
    Probably he’ll be in a minutes restriction.

  121. Brian Cronin: Lowry ain’t going to be making $30 million per year any more, of course, but I think $25 million is still likely).

    Yeah, DeRozan potentially gets $30M. But if both go for ~$25M we can do it if we dump Knox on somebody.

    Stupid Noah contract still screwing with us.

    Again, not saying it’s ideal but I could see it or something similar happening.

  122. Elders DeRozan and Lowry teaming up in NY and getting paid like mid-career max guys: 44-win ceiling and a first-round exit, here we come, baby!

  123. Early Bird: Again, not saying it’s ideal but I could see it or something similar happening.

    I’m with Jowles on this, “not ideal” wouldn’t be my definition to 50M of cap space wasted on 2 old men (Lowry and DeRozan).

  124. NBA Central @TheNBACentral
    Derrick Rose’s last 5 games:
    20.2 PPG
    5.2 APG
    3.6 RPG
    60.9% FG
    36.4% 3PT
    81.3% FT

    Impressive numbers from DRose.

  125. cybersoze: I’m with Jowles on this, “not ideal” wouldn’t be my definition to 50M of cap space wasted on 2 old men (Lowry and DeRozan).

    Yeah, I think that’s fair. Lowry will probably be overpaid since he’s been fading. But DeRozan’s best years have been the last 2 or 3.

    Like I said, there’s just not much available this offseason & those 2 strike me as the most likely to switch teams.

    Also, @Jowles you’re implying that team is worse than our current team. Maybe the defense really does take that much of a hit, but it’s a much improved offense.

    Also, the max will be closer to $30M than $25M starting next year, even for the young players.

    I think DeRozan is underrated, he’s much improved after joining the Spurs. His OBPM is better than Randle’s.

  126. I think that just points out the sort of precarious position the Knicks are in. Not a bad position by any means, but precarious. Obviously, the #1 reason they’ve been playing so well is that Julius Randle is having an unbelievable season. The #2 reason is that RJ Barrett has taken a big season two leap. Let’s put Thibs and his system at #3 (you want to put it #2, fine, whatever, it really doesn’t matter). The #4 reason, though, has been the supporting staff, only one of whom (IQ) is actually signed beyond this season. Rose, Bullock, Noel and Burks are clearly the next four most important Knicks right now (as well as IQ has played, and he’s played outstanding, Thibs clearly relies on him a lot less than he does those other guys) and add in Taj’s very important backup center minutes and Elfrid’s whatever he does, and you’re to the point where the Knicks have a nine-man rotation where six of the nine guys are free agents at the end of the year and none of them are young (okay, Elfrid is, but I think he ages in dog years).

    That’s not a bad thing, of course, since the two best players on the team are both signed for next year, one of whom is on a rookie deal and the other is on a now-below market deal. And the #10 guy in the 9-man rotation, Obi Toppin, will hopefully improve, as well, plus Mitch will be back and IQ will presumably get even better. So, again, not a bad thing, but it’s still going to be a tough balancing act, and how to mix and match the salary (and two first round picks) is going to be a fascinating challenge for Rose.

    But damn, stuff like this Luca move? That’s smarter than the last, like, five Knick administrations.

  127. I have faith in this FO’s cap geekery and I guess that phone calls with some of our FA’s agents are already up.

    As an aside, from a salary cap perspective, the two mid-first picks could be a boon, if they’re good at evaluating talent, in a deep draft, they could get two useful players at a lower and controlled cost.

  128. As an aside, from a salary cap perspective, the two mid-first picks could be a boon, if they’re good at evaluating talent, in deep draft, they could get two useful players at a lower and controlled cost.

    Agreed. Those picks could be big.

  129. Brian Cronin: and none of them are young (okay, Elfrid is, but I think he ages in dog years)

    You get my vote for quote of the day, Brian. So funny! :D

  130. Alan:
    Sounds like the new guy is coming at the expense of a payday for Simi Shittu, per Begley:

    I read that Shittu will sign a two way contract. That doesn’t conflict with signing this guy

  131. Anyway, back to this season. Tonight’s game is one of the easiest left on our schedule. Winning is pretty important, especially with the west coast trip left.

    We might be able to put some distance between us and some other teams.

  132. But damn, stuff like this Luca move? That’s smarter than the last, like, five Knick administrations.

    I agree. We have a whole scouting organization that I suspect is bigger than what many team’s have and this is first season at least since Mosgov where I Feel we are making good use of them.

  133. With the emergence of Rose and signing our own Luca, son of Prigs, do we need to spend big money for Lowry? Maybe DeRozan would make more sense.

  134. I clicked on that Almost Famous clip, despite my better judgement. Wow, 8 minutes of watching people listen to the most over-played song in American music history was not only an idea, but was actually executed too? Reminds me why I was colossally disappointed by that movie. Pretentious, un-entertaining, tin-eared blah.

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