NY Post: The next step in Dennis Smith’s Knicks progression

The day after Dennis Smith Jr.’s spectacular Sunday performance, the Knicks’ potential point guard of the future was slated to go on a food-shopping date. And it wasn’t just any food-shopping date.

Knicks coach David Fizdale had himself a talk with Smith on Saturday after he benched him in the fourth quarter of Friday’s first game out of the All-Star break.

The lengthy player-coach discussion centered on nutrition, Fizdale advising him to get into better shape and rely more on the club’s dietician.

Whatever Smith ate in those 24 hours surely worked. On Sunday night, Smith had fans less worried about Kyrie Irving’s summer decision after a 19-point, 13-assist, zero-turnover outing in the Knicks’ home-losing-streak-busting 130-118 win over the Spurs.

After Monday’s practice, Smith was headed to the grocer with the team’s nutritionist, Erika Whitman, and lauded Fizdale for his man-to-man chat.

I’m mostly just trying to see if a new post will allow us to comment again.

In any event, when the Knicks traded for Dennis Smith Jr., I have no real beef with the guy, I just assumed he was trade bait because the team seemed intent on acquiring some big name guys this offseason and it seemed like one of those guys would almost certainly be a point guard, so it didn’t seem like Smith had much of a future here (for better or for worse) unless the Knicks struck out on all the big free agents. However, he has shown enough that I could see him having a real role on the team even if they do sign Kyrie Irving.

Good for him. Plus, he’s a whole lot of fun to watch. He’s not really all that close to being a good point guard, but he’s at least generally trending in the right direction, which is nice to see! Plus, of course, he is so damn fun to watch!

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75 thoughts to “NY Post: The next step in Dennis Smith’s Knicks progression”

  1. I DDoSed the site so we’d stop talking about DSJ-Kawhi-Durant-Zion-Mitch lineups

    stop trying to make it happen

    it’s never going to happen

  2. Dolan’s Razor is starting to glint in the distance…Dallas is going to wind up in the 6th seed and have a reasonable chance of 1) landing Zion (NOOOOooooo!!) and/or 2) landing in the top 4 and pushing our draft picks out another year. If either of these scenarios unfold, it waters down the benefit of the KP trade. I wish that our FO had insisted on a pick swap for this year in the case that this happens.

  3. Well, if the Dallas picks are pushed back a year, it means we have an addition pick in the 2022 draft, which is supposed to be the double-dip one where high schoolers will first be eligible again. So that wouldn’t be the worst thing. It just makes it more difficult to recoup that second 1st-rounder, given the protections and time limit.

  4. A 2019 pick swap would have been a legitimate deal breaker. No one is giving up on their chances at Zion. The first pick being pushed back doesn’t really matter and could even be beneficial if 2022 is the first year without the one-and-done rule (it looks like that might be the case).

    The worst potential downstream consequence is probably that the 2023 pick gets pushed back until 2025 and all we get is a second. In this scenario, though, Dallas has likely had multiple high lottery finishes (picks in the top 10) so we wouldn’t be too bent out of shape about trading away Mr. November.

  5. Meanwhile, during the Great Site Outage of 2/25/19, two questions occurred to me, related to various recent arguments here:

    First, is Kemba at the max an acceptable signing if Anthony Davis, and not Kevin Durant, is the team’s big star? Or would that just be a weird Eastern Conference recreation of the AD/Holiday dynamic in NOLA?

    Second, rank the desirability of emptying out most/all of our young assets for Davis in the following eventualities: 1)He is joining Durant and Kyrie, 2)He is joining only one other superstar, 3)We strike out in superstar free agency and are trading for him to be our unequivocal best player.

  6. First, is Kemba at the max an acceptable signing if Anthony Davis, and not Kevin Durant, is the team’s big star? Or would that just be a weird Eastern Conference recreation of the AD/Holiday dynamic in NOLA?

    We can only get AD via trade, meaning we’d have an empty cupboard + Anthony Davis + Kemba Walker. No thank you.

    Second, rank the desirability of emptying out most/all of our young assets for Davis in the following eventualities: 1)He is joining Durant and Kyrie, 2)He is joining only one other superstar, 3)We strike out in superstar free agency and are trading for him to be our unequivocal best player.

    1) I’m not positive I would do it, but I wouldn’t be mad about it
    2) Don’t do it
    3) Definitely don’t do it

  7. Markkanen has been on a tear of late, and it’s had me thinking for awhile just how good/valuable is KP to peers that play 4/5 even if you’re baking in a meaningful rise in his efficiency. Even assuming all these guys were on the same exact contracts I think it’s questionable about where he’s likely to rank now and moving forward.

    Guys who are definitely better and of similar age: AD, Embiid, Giannis, KAT, Jokic (still think his defense is super problematic, but what he does on offense is ridiculous)

    Guys who are of similar quality currently but am fairly certain their teams wouldn’t deal them straight up for Porzingis: Markkanen, 3J, Ayton, Collins, Turner, Siakim

    Guys who I think are better, but I think teams would be willing to trade for KP because of his theoretical upside: Nurkic, Harrell, Jarrett Allen, WCJ, Capela, Sabonis

    So I guess my question of the bigs listed, all of whom positionally overlap with Porzingis and are close to the same age or younger, how many would you deal for KP straight up even setting aside contract value?

  8. Dolan’s Razor is starting to glint in the distance…Dallas is going to wind up in the 6th seed and have a reasonable chance of 1) landing Zion (NOOOOooooo!!) and/or 2) landing in the top 4 and pushing our draft picks out another year. If either of these scenarios unfold, it waters down the benefit of the KP trade.

    The sad reality is we have a greater chance of getting screwed via this scenario (currently >17%) than landing Zion.

  9. Yeah, if we trade everyone or AD, it’s only worth it if he comes together with Durant and / or Kyrie. Just Kemba wouldn’t be enough to make it a better team than the current Pelicans.

    I almost kinda don’t really want Davis, to be honest. Boston has announced that everyone, including Tatum is available, so offers will be expensive, and there’s the whole issue of him deciding not to stay, Rich Paul shenanigans, etc.

    The focus, for me, still should be on pairing Durant and Irving, while keeping Robinson and this year’s first rounder. I don’t think it’s necessarily happening, but it should be the focus.

  10. The last thing I was trying to post yesterday, btw, was about the increasing sense of optimism I felt at the Garden Sunday. For me, personally, it’s attributable to three things:

    1. The absence of the fear that the front office will offer a high risk max contract to Porzingis

    2. The potential to get average and exceptional production from the PG and C positions, respectively, at deep discounts (and the tremendous roster flexibility that would provide)

    3. The sudden surplus of draft picks and absence of bad contracts

    Bonus factor:

    4. The increasing groundswell of belief that Durant wants to come here.

    It just feels a lot better around the Knicks lately. The Porzingis trade brought shock, but now that the dust has settled, it looks increasingly like a positive move.

  11. @8
    I don’t want to trade for AD.
    He’s a better player than Melo but the concept is the same: when you’re so far away from contention don’t trade your farm for a player, even one so good (but injury prone) as AD.
    And “if” the FO want to trade, Mitch must be untouchable, Zion too, maybe even Barrett.
    I know I’m crazy, but if I’m the one choosing, I’d rather have Kemba slightly under the max than Kyrie at the max.
    I’m scared by AD and Kyrie from an injury POV.

  12. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them! says:

    Dolan’s Razor is starting to glint in the distance…Dallas is going to wind up in the 6th seed and have a reasonable chance of 1) landing Zion (NOOOOooooo!!) and/or 2) landing in the top 4 and pushing our draft picks out another year. If either of these scenarios unfold, it waters down the benefit of the KP trade. I wish that our FO had insisted on a pick swap for this year in the case that this happens.

    That was the first thing I predicted when we made the trade. It made perfect sense for Dallas to tank after that. They already had an incentive to lose this year in order to delay giving up a pick. If they had some small hope of getting playoff experience for Luca this year it went out the window after giving up a couple of their most productive players. I was shocked when it looked like they were trying to compete for awhile. I thought they were going to immediately start inventing injuries for Luca down the stretch.

    Dallas is positioned well. They have 2 out of the 3 key pieces they need long term and some good bench players. If they can add 1 all star via free agency, trade etc.. in the next couple of years they are close to set.

  13. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them! says:

    I thought Doc’s tribute to Dirk was a great NBA moment.

  14. Boston has announced that everyone, including Tatum is available,

    When did that happen? Every source I’ve seen has said Boston did not do that.

    EDIT: found it…

    https://theathletic.com/836614/2019/02/25/charania-jayson-tatum-exemplifies-celtics-balancing-act-of-a-win-now-approach-amid-an-uncertain-future/

    It technically says “sources indicate that everyone can be available”, which is a little vague. But you’re point that it would be expensive remains sound and I agree, I’d rather not pay the price.

  15. I give Guccifer one simple task, hack Dolan’s account, and he takes the whole site down. So hard to find good people these days.

  16. Does anyone know if Kadeem is recalled for tonight? I’m curious as a Knicks fan, but I’m also in a very deep fantasy league’s playoffs right now (yes, deep enough that Kadeem Allen is a real consideration in the playoffs).

  17. @16

    It was reported by Shams Charania, it was all over reddit and such these past couple of days. He wrote a piece on Tatum and said that the Celtics made it clear to the Pelicans that everyone is available.

    Edit: I see you found it, yeah, it’s the famous “sources” claim, but the Celtics are not typically a franchise that lets random leaks come out. Everyone will obviously lowball the hell out of the Pelicans to start, but Lebron’s desperation, specially if the Lakers do miss the playoffs, will ensure the price will be very high.

  18. Dolan’s razor is not a thing. Whenever that phrase is brought up here it bugs me to know end. Posters on this site pride themselves on being analytical when it comes to basketball yet continually bring up this idea that we’re cursed because of Dolan. Its ridiculous.

    Bad shit has happened to The Knicks because for close to 20 years we have made bad decision after bad decision for the most part. Whether its trading away draft picks or making lopsided trades not in our favor or signing over-priced, over the hill free agents or letting good young prospects we found go for nothing. The more bad decisions we made, the more gambles we had to take to try and fix those mistakes, painting us further and further into a corner. Each mistake we made increased the probability of things going badly.

    If we continue to make smart moves for the most part and exercise patience, we will have more good luck.

  19. The only advantage to an AD trade for us is we might have the most overvalued “young asset” in the league in Kevin Knox. That guy is terrible but it seems like some people think he’s good. So theoretically using him as sizable part of the AD package would represent good value for us.

    On the flip side, Mitch Rob is criminally undervalued around the league so in a way it balances out.

    The bare minimum AD package is probably something like Mitch Rob, Knox, DSJ, salary filler that might wind up being semi-valuable (e.g. Dotson) just by process of elimination, and the 2019 first, right? I can’t see any other starting offer not being laughably bad compared to what Boston can offer.

    Yeah, unless we sign two legitimate max players I’m not on board. Even if we get Kyrie and Durant…I dunno, that would be tough.

  20. I don’t know if Dolan’s Razor is a thing, but it’s pretty fucking amazing that since the 1985 lottery we’ve never moved up once and have moved down more times than I care to remember.

  21. but the Celtics are not typically a franchise that lets random leaks come out

    They’re not, but the wording of that is so manipulative. Maybe Tatum “can be available” if New Orleans throws in a pick. Ainge did whatever he had to do to get New Orleans to wait, and now he’s going to rob them like he robs everyone. If there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s that Ainge will manage to get Davis for a bag of magic beans while he keeps the gold coin in his pocket.

    I do agree with the general point, though. We shouldn’t be trying to outbid them. We’re better off holding on to our cost-controlled assets and adding free agents.

  22. Dolan’s razor is not a thing. Whenever that phrase is brought up here it bugs me to know end. Posters on this site pride themselves on being analytical when it comes to basketball yet continually bring up this idea that we’re cursed because of Dolan. Its ridiculous.

    Haha, this is one of my favorite swiftandabundant rants. Love it.

    Anything derived from the idea of Occam’s Razor will be of abductive heuristics. No one is saying there’s a literal curse, dude.

    Abductive conclusions are thus qualified as having a remnant of uncertainty or doubt, which is expressed in retreat terms such as “best available” or “most likely”. One can understand abductive reasoning as inference to the best explanation, although not all uses of the terms abduction and inference to the best explanation are exactly equivalent.

    This is, like, the essence of Knickerblogger.

  23. Dolan’s Razor is not a curse. It’s a thing. An actual, living thing. And it’s commiiiiiiiiinnnnggg!

  24. Warts and all, DSJ is the best point guard the Knicks have had in a very long time.

    He’s also light years ahead of Frank in actual basketball skills and that is factorial.

    I agree Dolan’s razor is a real thing, get ready to get fucked again come lotto and draft nights. Unfortunately we haven’t suffered enough yet.

  25. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them! says:

    The universe is ordered and responsive like a giant computer program. It’s just far too complex for our feeble minds to understand how all the inputs and outputs work. We think things are random, but they aren’t. It won’t be random lottery odds or freak injuries. It won’t even be bad deals. It will be Dolan.

    In James Earl Jones voice.

    “Bad things will come. They most definitely will come”.

  26. Glad I could make you happy, Jowles.

    True, we haven’t moved up in the draft since 1985. But we’ve also traded away a decent amount of picks in the 2000s and in the 90s we were actually good so our draft picks weren’t in the lottery. So when you factor in a decade where we were good and didn’t have lottery picks and then take away all the draft picks we traded, the actual number of times we’ve been screwed by the lottery gods isn’t that many.

  27. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them! says:

    When I watch DSJ play I see the athleticism, quickness, skills, and even court vision of a potentially very good traditional PG. However, I also see too many foolish shots, too many foolish TOs, too many times when he totally zones out on defense watching the ball or is totally lost not knowing what to do. Right now the end result is a negative player. It’s going to take time find out which wins over the long haul, his innate talent or his personality and basketball IQ.

  28. i’d rather have kemba than kyrie, at the same $$. and I wonder if Durant would too. I don’t think Durant comes here unless he is without question the man, which is kinda what Kyrie had a problem with in Cleveland.

    to tell you the truth, with DSJ looking to have potential at least as a serviceable starter, I’d rather not pay a PG. I’d rather overpay Middleton, although I think the bucks will match

  29. DSJ has actually had decent AST/TO numbers as a Knick. He has something like a 2.5 AST/TO ratio. Since he’s joined the team his TOV% is 12.5 percent, a solid number for a PG.

    If he distributes like this, and continues to keep his turnovers low, and also improves his shooting, he’s an NBA point guard. There’s a clear path forward for him. He’s not a plus defender but he’s not horrible either.

    I don’t really care for volume scoring PGs but DSJ has not really played in that style here. He has 8.3 assists per 36 as a Knick. He has shown a nice drive and kick game. The sample size is still tiny.

  30. DSJ makes a lot of mistakes that should really be expected from a young player. Indeed Orlando’s fan base was really hard on Victor Oladipo at age 23, during his 3rd year in the league. Most were clamoring to trade him. Obviously, in retrospect, they should have been more patient. DSJ is just 21 years old. Consistency will hopefully come with time and he certainly has tremendous potential. DSJ’s PER during his 9 games as a Knick: 17.3…Westbrook’s PER during his 2nd year (also 21 years old) with OKC 17.8.

  31. DSJ has actually had decent AST/TO numbers as a Knick. He has something like a 2.5 AST/TO ratio. Since he’s joined the team his TOV% is 12.5 percent, a solid number for a PG.

    oh oh oh Fiz MAGIC,
    you know,
    never believe it’s not so

    (Who came up with that, btw? Is that a Farfa gem?)

  32. (Who came up with that, btw? Is that a Farfa gem

    I think you infected KB but Chauncey Billups was patient zero…

  33. I really have no idea how CARMELO is produced, but it shows the following WAR from Durant (if he signed a 4-year deal). Parentheses show rough 90th percentile estimate (~).

    2020: 5.3 (9)
    2021: 4.6 (8)
    2022: 3.9 (9)
    2023: 2.9 (7.5)

    That’s a far cry from the 12, 9.1 and 7.1 he put up in the previous three seasons. I know he’s still elite, but BPM also has him falling off. Maybe he would see an uptick if he became “the man” again, but it’s not 2014 (8.8 BPM, .295 WS48, 8.5 VORP) anymore. The only way he makes sense for the Knicks is if they get someone like Zion or add another legitimate max star and you know you can compete for a title in 2020 or 2021. Banking on a 33-year-old Durant to be an MVP candidate is a strong bet for The Very True and Objectively and Empirically Real Supernatural Curse of Dolan’s Voodoo Razor to bite us in the ass.

  34. I still believe Irving is gonna run home to Daddy in LA, he’s not coming here, even with KD.

    Kemba on a non max with KD and our kids and high draft pick, I could fuck with.

  35. this made me smile and just wanted to share it…

    The former Lakers Hall-of-Fame center has hundreds of items from his memorabilia collection available in the auction, being conducted by Goldin Auctions, with “much of the proceeds” going to his Skyhook Foundation charity to help benefit kids learn about science, technology, engineering and math.

    “When it comes to choosing between storing a championship ring or trophy in a room, or providing kids with an opportunity to change their lives, the choice is pretty simple. Sell it all,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote on his blog about why he’s auctioning off valuables from his sports history. “Looking back on what I have done with my life, instead of gazing at the sparkle of jewels or gold plating celebrating something I did a long time ago, I’d rather look into the delighted face of a child holding their first caterpillar and think about what I might be doing for their future.

    “Since my life is still happening and ever-evolving, I am less personally attached to those items than I am to my desire to create new history for myself and futures for others,”

    there was a time when i tended to hold on to “stuff” a little too tightly…very inspiring behavior and words from the captain…

  36. You can see the curve in Durant’s aging by just looking at his year-by-year WS48. Transcendent production from ages 24-28, slight receding of that transcendent production at age 29-30. A normal aging curve would see him slip under that .200 WS48 just in time to put on a Knicks jersey.

    On the other hand, Durant has what I call “old player” skills– his game is based on ball skills, basketball IQ and shooting, and those are things that age well. His game is skill-based, not athleticism-based. So I think he’ll hold up at around that .200 mark for a while. He’s probably not getting back up into the .250+ zone again though. It’s not like he’s a zippy point guard who needs to be faster than everybody else to play well. He’s a smart player, doesn’t take bad shots, plays within himself. I think he’ll be okay on that next contract.

  37. Smith Jr. has also doubled his FTA in his 10 games with the Knicks, but he’s only hitting them at 55%. His shot looks kinda bad, but we can safely expect that number to increase as he progresses, if he gets to a point where he hits 6 FTA at 75%, his efficiency will increase. I agree with JK that there’s a clear path to becoming a good player for him, which is certainly encouraging, keep getting to the line, keep the turnovers down and if he averages about 2 steals a game (he’s currently at 1.8 with the Knicks), he has some value as a defender too.

  38. I really have no idea how CARMELO is produced, but it shows the following WAR from Durant (if he signed a 4-year deal). Parentheses show rough 90th percentile estimate (~).

    Systems like CARMELO generally struggle to forecast production for outliers. They’re comparison based, and the great ones don’t have enough comps.

    I’d be curious to see what they predicted for LeBron James 4 years ago.

  39. Systems like CARMELO generally struggle to forecast production for outliers. They’re comparison based, and the great ones don’t have enough comps.

    Maybe that’s true, but would you take on that risk, knowing that he’s of the age where he could suffer, without injuries, a precipitous decline, like… now?

    I’m just pointing out the risk. And Durant is still nasty. Still an MVP-level player in the playoffs. My question would be whether he will have the gas for playoff ascension if he has to carry a team through the regular season. He’s had to bail out the Warriors on a number of occasions this year, including through Curry’s minor injury. I wonder how he’ll feel about things when he’s undoing a 7-25 performance from Knox or 7 turnovers from Trier.

  40. Generally FA contracts for guys entering their 30’s are a bad idea. You’re paying for what they did in their 20’s and it rarely works out well. So you kind of have to believe in the idea that Durant will age better than most. Personally, I do believe his game will age well, for the reasons I mentioned a few posts ago. But yeah, it is a little bit risky. You could easily see him drifting downward to .180, .160, .140 and so on. It would be a pretty normal aging curve.

  41. It looks like it began in 2015 (I can’t find anything earlier on google), when LeBron was 31, and predicted a similar decline that hasn’t happened:

    That’s cool, but when you’re pointing to LeBron James as the model for your max player’s career arc, you’re definitely playing with fire. Durant’s is as good as anyone over the last ten years, and I agree with JK47 that his game will age well because he’s highly skilled, has an exceptional jumper, and is tall and skinny enough that he should be able to dunk on the drive until he retires. Not sure I’m making that bet unless I have at least one other superstar on the roster, plus Mitch.

    If it’s Durant, Barrett, Knox, Ntilikina, Mitch and Trier on next year’s team (plus whoever they spend the rest of the cap space on), it’s going to be a very similar year to the Lakers’ current campaign.

  42. Maybe that’s true, but would you take on that risk, knowing that he’s of the age where he could suffer, without injuries, a precipitous decline, like… now?

    Absolutely. Durant has the potential to do for us what the first major client to sign on can do for an emerging hedge fund . The long-term return potential of him coming here and succeeding is incredible.

    We’ve been spent the whole year wondering why anyone in their right mind would come here and assuming anyone who does has a mental disorder. That is literally something we’ve said. And we may have been right. If he comes here and gradually declines, we’re still huge winners because that perception of us as a joke is gone.

    Now if you were telling me we had a choice between Durant or Kawhi, or Durant or Davis, I would consider the risk and choose the younger option. But the choice is likely Durant or more of the last 20 years. What are we really risking?

  43. If he comes here and gradually declines, we’re still huge winners because that perception of us as a joke is gone.

    I heard that about Amar’e in 2010, too. I suppose we got lucky in 2012-13 but it was a shortlived boon and we’ve seen nothing but failure since. Also, it won’t really matter if people want to come here if there’s no cap space to sign them. That should be a major concern, too.

    Also, here are the numbers absent the MP multiplier — year, actual, projected:

    2016 +9.6 +7.5
    2017 +8.4 +6.6
    2018 +6.5 +6.1

    It’ll be interesting to see how 2019 and 2020 shake out for him. But yes, he is a true outlier in almost all ways. 2018 Playoff LeBron made me question a lot of assumptions I had about the age curve.

  44. I do agree that Durant alone isn’t the way to go. It’s gotta come with Kyrie, Davis, Leonard or even someone like Kemba together with him. But I don’t believe he would even agree with the Knicks if that wasn’t the case.

  45. RE: DSJ

    Paint me tantalized if you must, but I’m ok with DSJ. His knee scares the living shit out of me because the kid is crazy explosive, but he’s a good PG to build up. This franchise hasn’t built anything with homegrown talent since Ewing. Now we have DSJ, Ntilikina, Knox, MitchRob, Dotson, Trier, Kornet, and Vonleh to mold- plus all our 1sts moving forward. I’m not saying pass on the big FA’s, just that we’re not doomed with a bare cupboard should we swing and miss on the players that everyone seems to want to see on the Knicks. We can just as easily grab Middleton type FA’s, meaning good players who are still young enough to play well throughout their contract, and keep building with youth.

    I still would love to see guys who are the caliber of a AD, Kyrie, KD, or Kawhi don the blue and orange before they start their downhill arc lol

  46. I heard that about Amar’e in 2010, too.

    I’m sure you did, but you shouldn’t have. Amar’e had leveled off two years before we signed him. He was coming off back-to-back 1.5 VORP seasons and had uninsurable body parts.

    I’m not saying these risks you’re noting aren’t real. He’s not the perfect option. I’d rather have Zion, and if we won the Zion sweepstakes then I wouldn’t take the risk. But if we end up with the 3rd pick and Durant for some reason wants to come here, I think it’s a risk we have to take.

  47. I’m just looking at February 2023 and wondering how exceptional Durant would have be re: longevity for him to be worth the $43.8M he’s eligible to make that year.

    I’m reading that the Warriors can offer only about $6.8M more than the Knicks can through four years, but that extra year is such a trump card at Durant’s age. No one in their right mind would pay him a 1-year deal for $50.3M in 2023 — no contender will have the cap space for such an offer even if he’s performing like 2014 KD, and no rebuilding team should even consider paying a guy $50M at age 35.

    So this is one of those times where the player should consider the $50M guaranteed as something he might otherwise have to earn over, say, 3 seasons (age 35-37) if he won’t take the offer now — and that’s assuming he’s healthy and productive enough to get a $17M AAV deal. Usually it’s bullshit (“the Warriors can offer $57M more!”) but in this case, it’s about the probability of getting that kind of deal as a guy who’s maybe a year or two out from retirement.

    But I can’t speak to Durant’s ego. If there’s a guy whose motivations I don’t understand, it’s his.

  48. On the Anthony Davis front, I personally think it’s imperative we screw Boston out of him by helping LAL put together a competitive offer. We should do a 3 team trade with LAL and NOLA where we get back Ball, LAL gets Anthony Davis, and NOLA gets all of Dennis Smith Jr, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, Kevin Knox, Kyle Kuzma, Frank Ntilikina, and a slew of picks courtesy of LAL. Keeping AD out of Boston while we hold onto our pick and Mitch means Kyrie and Durant can team up in New York and have one less team to worry about. I’d also love to see Ball in the 2013 Jason Kidd role, except he’d also be a lockdown defender. Ball with Durant and Irving would be like the Frank Ntilikina we never had.

  49. If we land Zion we should be more confident in signing Durant and Kyrie. That team contends immediately…

  50. personally, i want boston to trade for AD – just in the hopes that he walks on them a year later…and, they’re stuck with broke down hayward, kyrie, and devoid of a lot of the assets they’ve been compiling over the years…

    i don’t know about lonzo – he seems to spend as much if not more time hurt than our very own frank…

    i remember there was a time sunday when kevin got whacked hard upside his head…sure enough – he made it back out on to the court later in the game…

    probably the best observation i’ve heard all year regarding kevin came from milo a while back – he looks like some kid who got lost in the arena and stumbled on to the court looking for directions…really bad year so far in terms of shooting percentage and passing from kevin year – however, the kid’s been out there (28.5 mpg) game after game all season long…

  51. If DSJ regularly plays like he did last night I will be the first one to eat crow on him. DeRozen cooked him a bit and his shot has a scary hitch, but that was some high level PG play.

  52. If we land Zion we should be more confident in signing Durant and Kyrie. That team contends immediately…

    Yeah but is that the optimal path for Zion? If we land him I want him to be the centerpiece and I want everything to be done according to his timeline. That’s the same mistake we made making Porzingis secondary to Melo and squandering all his cost controlled years.

  53. It would work perfect because the contracts would line up, 4 years for Durant, 4 for Zion, 4 for Kyrie. When Zion is restricted the maxes for Kyrie and Durant come off the books and you have space to rebuild around Zion then max him. It’s basically perfection…

  54. We should do a 3 team trade with LAL and NOLA where we get back Ball, LAL gets Anthony Davis, and NOLA gets all of Dennis Smith Jr, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, Kevin Knox, Kyle Kuzma, Frank Ntilikina, and a slew of picks courtesy of LAL

    Smith + Knox + Frank for Ball seems a bit much for me. It might be fine to those who think Knox is worthless. Screwing over Boston should not be something we consider a return.

  55. That’s the same mistake we made making Porzingis secondary to Melo and squandering all his cost controlled years.

    I’m not sure what you mean by this. The problem was that Melo wasn’t good (Derrick Rose also sucked) and Porzingis wasn’t all that great on offense, either. Are you saying that without Melo, Porzingis takes even more shots and makes more of them, too?

    If anything, I credit Melo with turning Porzingis into a midrange chucker. I doubt there’s any real possibility of that happening to Zion.

    Biggest threat to Zion would be signing someone like Julius Randle, who plays a similar inside game, albeit far less exciting or athletic. (I like Randle.) I don’t see how playing with a exceptional PG or ball-dominant wing would do something bad to his development. If floor spacing is a thing, Zion and Kyrie/Durant will play wonderfully off of each other.

  56. I mean that we prioritized Melo’s short timeline instead of Porzingis’ long one, making deals like the Williams, Afflalo, Noah, Lee contracts instead of gathering assets for the long haul once it became apparent that young Porzingis was a better horse to hitch our wagon to than declining Melo.

  57. I mean, Kyrie, Durant and Zion together seems like an absolute dream fit. They all can finish plays, Durant specially is an underrated passer and they all operate in different ways in space on the court.

  58. Wait, surrounding Zion with Durant and Irving would be a bad thing?

    The team would be really good if we add those two. Especially if we get to keep Mitch and all the other young players and add Zion to the mix plus those two superstars…we would instantly be good. Zion would get playoff experience in year one. How is that a bad thing? And by the time his rookie contract is up, we have cap space again with Durant and Irving’s contracts winding down. Plus we would be adding (late) first round picks to the team and hopefully a lottery pick (or two) from Dallas.

    Its not the same as Zinger and Melo at all. For one thing, Zinger was/is much more of a project. Second, Melo isn’t anywhere near the star that Durant or Irving is. Third, there was no second star to pair with Zinger and Melo and last, we didn’t have our draft pick the next year to add to help a rebuild around Zinger.

    Signing Durant and Irving outright and adding them to this young group of players plus Zion would be the dream scenario IMO (actually KD and Kawhi is my true dream). You get to compete right away but also could sustain that even after Durant and Irving are gone cause you still have a relatively young Zion to rebuild around.

  59. I mean that we prioritized Melo’s short timeline instead of Porzingis’ long one, making deals like the Williams, Afflalo, Noah, Lee contracts instead of gathering assets for the long haul once it became apparent that young Porzingis was a better horse to hitch our wagon to than declining Melo.

    Ah, understood. I agree, just didn’t link it to Melo’s timeline, which is totally fair and accurate. I just see Dolan as always in win-first mode, no matter who’s on the roster.

    But I also don’t think that signing Durant and Kyrie would do anything bad for Zion. He’d be lucky to have such talent around him, and as we’ve seen, he’s really good at keeping his eyes up when double-teamed. I think he’d be an awesome fit with a great shooting team, which Kyrie and Durant certainly would be.

    Kyrie, a 2nd-grader, Durant, Zion and Mitch would almost certainly be the best NYK starting five of the modern era. It would be lob city WITH two long-range bombers around the arc. Hell, you could throw Ntilikina in and tell him to take no more than 3 shots per game, still a top-3 offense.

  60. When it comes to Durant, the only way to make it work is to have a second or third or even fourth star (or two of them) on either gross underpays or rookie-scale deals. Then you can imagine “averaging” a potential Durant overpay with those lower salaries. The Warriors became great by having all of its stars making far less than they were worth (particularly Curry and Green) and still having room to add Durant before maxing out Curry.

    So with Durant, a second good FA overpay, Mitch and, say, Zion…or if not Zion then another draft find, plus a burgeoning DSJ and/or and/or Dotson and/or Trier and/or reclamation project…Durant’s and the 2nd FA’s overpay can be balanced out. For me, it’s pretty much a no-brainer to sign Durant at any pure $ price IF you don’t empty the cupboard for AD or anyone else. At worst, I see his decline being something like Kareem’s, where he’ll pick his spots more and still dominate for stretches when needed.

  61. DSJ is certainly the most intriguing PG prospect we’ve had in a while, maybe since Rod Strickland. What I’ve been most impressed with is his willingness to give up the ball…he’s not a black hole on offense thus far. He still takes plenty of shots, but it’s not like Westbrook or Harden where a pass is a last resort. He’s also taking 2/3 of his shots either at the rim or from 3, which is good except his shot from 3 is broken and needs to be repaired, as does his FT form. Mudiay’s shot looked similarly broken and has improved this year (the rest of his game sucks, but that’s another story.)

    Tonight’s game will be interesting. Orlando is in the playoff mix and definitely wants to win. Their PGs should not be able to keep DSJ out of the paint, and it looks like he and Dotson are building some chemistry. I think we lose, but hope he takes another step forward. I also think Knox vs. Gordon is an interesting matchup.

  62. Seems to me that if you get Zion the win curve changes drastically, you should just go into “win now” mode immediately. You’d have a three-year window where you have both Mitch and Zion for pennies on the dollar giving you insane surplus value. That’s a massive head start to building a winner. Add a couple of legit max contract players to that and you are really cooking, I don’t think you’d have to worry about timeline, the timeline would get pushed way forward.

  63. But I also don’t think that signing Durant and Kyrie would do anything bad for Zion.

    Not in terms of his development.

    But you said:

    I’m just looking at February 2023 and wondering how exceptional Durant would have be re: longevity for him to be worth the $43.8M he’s eligible to make that year.

    That’s bad for Zion.

    Without Zion, I’m willing to write off year 4 (maybe even year 3) of that contract if Durant gives us two peak seasons. But with him, 4 years to a 31 year old makes less sense.

  64. DeAndre Jordan remains out with an ankle injury. Noah Vonleh will start again at center against Orlando. The rest of the lineup will remain the same as it was against San Antonio.

    vonleh at the five is about as useful as kornet as the four…

  65. Yeah, if we somehow get Zion and Durant and Kyrie are interested, it’s an absolute no brainer for me, just go for it. Durant would expire at the same time for Zion’s first extension, which makes things even easier in that sense. If you draft Zion you have to assume he’s a productive player righr away and start using the leverage that having a productive young player on a relatively cheap contract gives you. Robinson’s contract is already a great starting point in terms of surplus value.

    Even Barrett would theoretically fit very well with Durant and Kyrie, he would be the 3rd offensive option and wouldn’t be asked to do too much, and he seems to be a strong defender when he’s engaged which could help offset a bit of Kyrie’s deficiencies on that end. It could very well end up being a terrific offensive lineup if Barrett can shoot threes well, and he’s clearly a talented shooter even if the numbers aren’t good right now.

    There’s a number of scenarios where it could all end up working out very well, but they all depend on one of two very good things happening, either Zion or the top free agents. I know we’re peobably just setting ourselves up for disappointment, but oh well, there’s still 20 games left on this dead season so let’s not be too hard on ourselves.

  66. That’s bad for Zion.

    I get it now. I guess Durant could potentially take a 2-year deal (which would make it more likely he’d receive a 4-year max in the summer of 2021), which would give the Knicks two years of a competitive team, and then nice cap space for 2021 in preparation of maxing out Zion (i.e. he turns into an actual superstar) and being capped out through the middle of the decade.

    I’m really spending a lot of time on a scenario that has no greater than a 14% chance of happening.

  67. I’m really spending a lot of time on a scenario that has no greater than a 14% chance of happening.

    Yeah, I was thinking that, too!

    I’ve honestly written off all possibility of Zion. I think even if we win the lottery we’d just trade him for Anthony Davis anyway.

  68. vonleh at the five is about as useful as kornet as the four…

    Super confusing lineups there.

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