The Too Soon Re-Evaluation of the Tyson Chandler Trade

With the New York Knicks failing miserably and Tyson Chandler shining back with the Dallas Mavericks, Phil Jackson’s decision to move on has started to draw heavy criticism.

Understanding when the best time to part with a core member of a once successful team is a hard decision to make. Many factors need to be weighed and there isn’t a sure outcome no matter how much of a slam dunk or a miss the move seems to look like at the time.

The 32-year-old Chandler (31 at time of the deal) was entering the final year of his contract. For various reasons it was hard to see the anchor of New York’s defense being with the team past this season. Jackson had a time frame consisting of the offseason going all the way to the trade deadline to try to get the highest value he could for his center, or risk losing him for nothing, barring a sign and trade.

The sign and trade aspect gets complicated with the unknown of the CBA — there are shorter contracts and more teams having money available to use during free agency. A team is typically only going to make an S&T deal if they’re financially restricted. There’s no reason to give up any sort of an asset for a player they can acquire for just money.

For this season there’s no doubt the Chandler deal looks like a disaster, but that’s not the reason the trade was completed. A more hurtful outcome for the franchise would have been losing Tyson for nothing like the Lakers did with Pau Gasol or Miami did with LeBron James.

Jose Calderon is a NBA level rotation player, on a reasonable $7-plus million contract that runs through 2016-2017. If Jackson feels Calderon ends up being a hindrance to what he’s trying to do he can always be traded at some point.

Samuel Dalembert was a filler and has no long-term harm.

Shane Larkin was a shot at a young guard and will have no impact going forward if they decide to part ways this summer. If the two sides decide to come together on a deal hopefully that means he’s proven to be a quality, two-way guard off the bench. He’s shown flashes of this, but there’s still a long way to come to this determination.

You also have two complete unknowns in Cleanthony Early and Thanasis Antetokounmpo. If one of them ends up as an NBA rotation player you take it and run.

The difference between this deal and many of the past was not killing off future flexibility despite the addition of Calderon’s guaranteed salary. New York still has plenty of cap space to maximize this summer in a potential variety of ways.

There’s always the argument of opportunity cost. The question has been raised should have Jackson waited to try and raise Chandler’s value since he was coming off a down season?

This option is far from a no-brainer and would have come with significant risk.

In 2013-2014 Chandler only played in 55 games. In 2012-2013 Chandler participated in 66 games. During 13-14 he hurt himself in the fourth game of the season. In 12-13 his body became so broken down by the end of the year he was a shell of himself when New York needed him most in the playoffs.

If New York decided to hold onto Tyson and he gets hurt before the trade deadline they end up losing him for nothing. Some will argue this was a risk worth taking, but Jackson’s decision to play it safe was a logical move.

The other positive from this deal is turning out to be an unintended consequence. Despite what looked like a middling roster, because of being in the Eastern Conference, it was at least thought the Knicks could be somewhat respectable topping out in the low 40s to high 30s or at worst winning in the low 30s.

This is not what’s happened and New York is in prime position to get a top three pick in a draft littered with talented big men.

Intentional or unintentional the Knicks are headed down a path to get a building block they desperately need. If they kept Chandler and he played at a reasonably decent level there’s not a chance New York is in this position.

The Milwaukee Bucks and Cleveland Cavaliers didn’t choose to be bad last year, but it ended up being a positive for them. Milwaukee was able to land Jabari Parker with the second pick and Cleveland turned the top selection into Kevin Love.

Maybe for once the Knicks have gotten some luck and they did something brilliant completely by accident.

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bgibberman

Representing all Knicks fans of Arizona. This is unfortunate for all of them. Unabashed lover of J.R. Smith.

64 thoughts to “The Too Soon Re-Evaluation of the Tyson Chandler Trade”

  1. For once someone makes some sense on this subject. Sure, the Knicks suck, and this trade is part of the reason why. But the Knicks have always sucked in the past because of their unwillingness to think beyond the next five minutes (and the next 25% hike in season ticket prices), and their utter reliance on splashy quick fixes to keep people interested in their mediocrity. This trade at least made some serious basketball sense…

    The real question is what to do with Carmelo. If value can be had for him, what sense does it make to keep him, and pay him, though this phase of his career if they have no way to compete?

  2. A whole article on the trade and not one mention of the salutary effect of not having to see Felton in a Knicks uniform ever again? That was the greatest benefit to me.

  3. Jackson’s next couple of months until the trading deadline are full of challenges and should tell us what he’s worth:

    1. Can you keep the team in a position for a top 3 pick?

    2. Given that this pick is probably a big, can you convert any combination of Amare, Bargs, Shump, Hardaway, Larkin, Calderon & Delambert into the point guard of the future? Or even just an above average one in his 24-27 age range?

    3. Obviously keep the salary cap flexibility for a Jimmy Butler, or a combination of 2 above average starters.

    4. Trade Melo only if there’s a great trade. Don’t trade him for peanuts because a team with Melo, a top rookie, a top free agent, an above average PG and Shump / Hardaway is a real step in the right direction.

    The great GM’s can do all these. The mediocre ones can’t.

  4. Our way forward out of this mess:

    Get a top 3 pick, select either Okafor, Towns, or whichever Phil thinks is the best 2-WAY big available.
    Take a good hard look at Andrew Bynum after he’s been off the entire year to rehab.

    If Bynum is signable and we can get a high-ceiling draft pick center, let our center rotation be Bynum, the draft pick, and Cole. I’d rather sign Bynum to a small short contract than Marc Gasol into his mid 30s on a max contract.

    Concentrate our free agent dollars on two-way wings or guards. Phil needs to give max contract offers ASAP after July 1 to Kawhi and/or Jimmy Butler. I don’t have great hopes that either will come. Dragic would be a great get, but I’m imagining he’ll end up getting traded before the deadline and will reup with that club.

    I wouldn’t be crushed if we made a nice offer to Brandon Knight, who’s a pretty good defender and very good shooter.

    Let Shump go, hopefully in some sort of sign-and-trade that will give us some assets back.

    Find any possible way to trade JR even if it means packaging him with Timmy or a future (2nd round) pick or two. Or tell him straight out that he’s never going to play so he should just opt out.

  5. by the way I remain totally fine about the Tyson trade.

    we’re about 30 games into the season, and yes, he’s playing great, but inevitably Tyson is going to get injured/sick at exactly the wrong time. And sure, we’d have a better record with him (but almost certainly not a good record), and he’d be in the process of throwing Phil and Fish under the bus right now. For all his rep as a good leader, he was definitely NOT that last year. I love Tyson as a player but IMHO he showed his true leadership colors last year by mailing it in for 50% of the games and not taking control of what was obviously not a good locker room.

    we really have no idea what we have in terms of the principals of trade. Larkin has been ok and actually improving as the year has gone on. Calderon is rounding into shape and as noted is probably a movable piece at some point. Thanasis looks absolutely nasty (in the D-League), and Cleanthony showed some signs before he got shut down.

    I don’t necessarily agree with Phil that we need 4-5 years to grade the trade, but I’d give it at least until next year before we decide. One of the most famously “terrible” trades — the Pau Gasol –> Lakers trade — has turned out pretty well for Memphis, hasn’t it?

  6. It’s impossible to grade this trade until we get to see what kind of players our 2 draft picks turn out to be. In the little I’ve seen of Early, he at least looked like he has potential even though he hasn’t been very productive. In the little I’ve seen of Antetokounmpo, I’m more encouraged. He’s raw on offense and it’s only D league, but I see the potential for a high energy guy off the bench that can turn the momentum of a game all by himself. He’s different than Faried, but that’s the kind of impact I think he could have.

  7. Hey guys, stop with the calm, reasonable analysis, all is lost, we’re screwed for decades, didn’t you get the memo?

  8. I had no issue with the Chandler trade at the time. It was clear we were moving in a different direction, and I was thrilled with getting Calderon, who seemed like the ideal triangle PG.

    Hindsight is 20/20, of course, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use it. And the fact that Ainge’s deal for Rondo absolutely murders the Chandler deal does change the way we need to view it. I’m sorry, it just does.

    Let’s start with the fact that Chandler is arguably a more valuable asset than Rondo (at the very least they are equal) and that Dallas was in a greater position of need when they made the trade. Also, we probably could have found other teams to bid on Chandler, whereas Ainge basically desperate and couldn’t find suitors for Rondo.

    A 2015 1st round pick is far more valuable than Jose Calderon.
    Brandon Wright is far more valuable than Sam Dalembert.
    Crowder and a 2nd round pick is about equal to the Early and Thanasis, so no issues there.
    The only thing in our favor is we dumped Felton on them.

    So that kind of sucks. It’s not a crime of the highest order, it just sucks and shows Phil is on a learning curve. The Chandler trade wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t ideal. We sold low and got a less than optimal return. It’s not one of the 500 worst things this team has done.

  9. (1) We’re probably not gonna be able to re-sign Larkin if he shows any promise because Jax failed to picked up our option and some other team can now offer more for him since we are constricted to some fixed amount.

    (2) Calderon will never be a piece on an ECF winner because of his defense and his contract may not be as easy to move as people might think without throwing in sweeteners.

    (3) What people IMHO are missing is that we could have been very competitive and perhaps with a bit of luck won the East this season. Kyrie and Kevin have no playoff experience and Chicago is injury prone. Keep Tyson, pick up Brooks for 3m on 1 year deal, and run spread pick n roll. Amare being healthy is a huge plus! Melo/Amare PnRs. NEW coaching, better defense could have been huge also. We’ve had a top 10 offense for the past 2 or 3 seasons. Ironically, this season would have been our best chance in the next 5 years to make some noise because once Cavs hit their stride and Durant joins Wall in DC, fuhgedaboutit.

    (4) Felton would have been easier to move than Calderon. Worst case his contract could have waived-and-stretched at 1m per year.

    (5) Jax should have gotten Brandan Wright in the Chandler trade.

    (6) The only way Tyson trade could work out for us is if we land a top draft pick who then is traded for a key piece or develops into a game changing player. Barring that, our only chance to make a splash in the next couple of years is to do this trade: http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=mpoz7pd

  10. What people IMHO are missing is that we could have been very competitive and perhaps with a bit of luck won the East this season.

    I mean, you’re sort of right. People are absolutely missing that. I’m not so sure that they’re wrong to be missing it, though.

  11. I’d rather the knicks go after Koufos and Alexis Ajinca. Ajinca a project but why not. I doubt he knicks can get Gasol, R. Lopez, or Asik. They should just draft a big and spend $5-6M to get both Koufos and Ajinca then spend the money else where.

    If Houston tries to bring back Dragic Phil should go after Beverley. I know everyone wants Butler and Leonard(and they should) but I would not be mad if they settle for Tobias Harris. Maybe they could get Butler and Harris if Chicago gets cheap. I doubt it though. I think they know they can pay Butler and if it does not work out trade him later because a team will value his defense. So if Butler is unavailable they should really go after Wesley Matthews or Danny Green. Matthews might be the easier get because I doubt Portland wants to pay Aldridge, Lopez, and Wes.

    I would not be made next summer if the knicks came away with

    Patrick Beverley
    Wesley Matthews
    Tobias Harris
    Kostas Koufus/Alexis Ajinca
    Draft pick ?

  12. (1) We’re probably not gonna be able to re-sign Larkin if he shows any promise because Jax failed to picked up our option and some other team can now offer more for him since we are constricted to some fixed amount.

    Precisely right. Because the Knicks did not pick up the option on Larkin, they are limited to a contract offer starting at $1.6 million (with 7.5% annual raises). If Larkin is a rotation player, he will get at least $3 million (mini-Midlevel) from other teams and the Knicks cannot match.

    Equally important, no team is going to ascribe positive value to Larkin in a deadline trade (unless they need a stopgap at PG for this season) because the Knicks’ restriction would travel with Larkin in a trade.

  13. I think you can only judge trades on how they looked like at the time of the actual deal, and based on the time of the trade, the Chandler deal was a passable trade. I think I gave it about a C at the time. I was actually pretty pleased with a C at the time, since most other Knick trades have been F-level deals.

    However, what is a bigger concern for me is the motivation behind the trade. I completely disagree that this was a trade made with the future in mind. The oldest guy in the deal went to the Knicks and salary was added for 2015. This trade was not made primarily with the future in mind. It was made with the following four conditions in mind:

    A. Chandler was not a fit for the Triangle
    B. Felton needed to get off the team for the sake of the team’s culture
    C. The Knicks needed a good point guard to compete in 2014-15
    D. Jose Calderon would be a great fit for the Triangle.
    E. We need any draft picks we can get.

    Besides E and perhaps B, the rest of those conditions were designed primarily with 2014-15 in mind.

    And that’s my issue – Jackson looked at this roster and didn’t only say, “With this trade, they can compete for the playoffs this year,” but rather, “I want to make this trade because it helps them make the playoffs this year.” And he was obviously woefully mistaken on both counts. And that’s worrisome.

  14. Wow, you have to love the ballsiness of SVG.

    Smith sure seems destined to become a Knick, doesn’t he?

  15. Smith sure seems destined to become a Knick, doesn’t he?

    Boy, I wonder if something that dumb would be enough to finally cause some of the population here to bail on the team for good.

    Who am I kidding? Of course it won’t.

  16. Smith sure seems destined to become a Knick, doesn’t he?

    A third Smith? What’s the expression, the third time’s the charm? He could be a fit for the Triangle (post up-excellent passer). He could guard 3s and 4s, a tremendous benefit given Melo’s defense issues. So long as Phil makes sure Josh never strays from elbow or low block, ….:ducks:

    but rather, “I want to make this trade because it helps them make the playoffs this year.”

    Dunno that I agree. I think Phil wanted to spend cap on a Triangle center or PF and didn’t notice any really great options out there at PG so pulled the trigger on Calderon. Problem is that Melo and Calderon already put you at a huge disadvantage on defense unless Melo is willing to guard 4s.

  17. Dropping Smith is great news for the Knicks. This will likely lead to more wins for the Pistons.

  18. It will be fun to read the box score after every game and try to guess which J Smith shot 2-11.

  19. The trifecta!!!! Three J Smiths on one team!

    For years I have said it’s Josh Smith’s destiny to play for the Knicks. Unfortunately, he’ll probably end up on a contender. He could do wonders for our lottery position but I guess we still have Bargs as our ace in the hole…..

  20. I think we can clearly give Phil Jackson credit for something this week: SVG most certainly called up the Knicks to inquire about and a Smith for Bargnani trade. And Phil said no!

  21. I read that teams wanted a first back if they were going to take Josh Smith. He brought it on himself with his play. I wonder who would actually take a flyer on him.

  22. For all Smith’s faults–and there are many–he is a better rebounder than most of our forwards.

    We should claim him just so I can watch Prigs try to explain to him how to run a pick and roll. That will be some fricking funny.

  23. A. Chandler was not a fit for the Triangle
    B. Felton needed to get off the team for the sake of the team’s culture
    C. The Knicks needed a good point guard to compete in 2014-15
    D. Jose Calderon would be a great fit for the Triangle.
    E. We need any draft picks we can get.

    Besides E and perhaps B, the rest of those conditions were designed primarily with 2014-15 in mind.

    Re B) – not totally sure that Chandler wasn’t also a problem with the team’s culture. Again, love the guy as a player but he bailed on the team big-time last year.

    But agree that it is probably shocking to Phil just how terrible this team is despite the talent level. Howard Beck is right on this – other than Carmelo is there a single player on this team that would start on a good team? Even one?’

    Houston being interested in Josh Smith is hilarious. The king of analytics wants a guy who has been told 10000 times not to shoot jumpers but ignores everyone.

  24. “It will be fun to read the box score after every game and try to guess which J Smith shot 2-11.”
    All 3?

  25. (4) Felton would have been easier to move than Calderon. Worst case his contract could have waived-and-stretched at 1m per year.

    There’s almost no chance this is correct.

    Felton is terrible and was coming off gun charges.

    Calderon a good and is known as a high character guy.

    The gap in marketability is even wider than the gap in ability.

  26. When you give up assets to acquire a guy and then have to give up assets to trade him away, you know that you shouldn’t be in charge of anything but a deep fryer on the late-night shift.

  27. Re: the stretch provision — I think there’s a fair chance this is how we dispose of JR if he decides to opt in, which he seems very likely to do. would be a net gain of about $4.2MM in space of 2015 as his 6.4MM salary gets broken into 2.1MM chunks in ’15, ’16, and ’17.

    By my calculation – if we declined everyone’s option but cleanthony’s (ie. renounce Shump) and stretch out JR’s contract we could have as much as 24.2MM in cap space.

    Melo 22.875
    JR-stretch 2.1
    Calderon 7.4
    Timmy 1.3
    Cleanthony 875K
    2015 pick (presuming ~4 million assuming a top 3-4 pick)
    7 cap holds = ~3.6

  28. I think we should see if the Nuggets want to do any deals. Since Masai Ujiri left, IMO they’ve done a number of poor deals. They still have a few decent players. Maybe we could steal one.

  29. man, we have no idea how much Grunwald was in charge of contracts, but boy did he really shit the bed with the Felton, Novak, and JR contracts. I’ll give him a pass on the Bargnani thing because it sure seems like he basically quit/was fired in protest, but giving these guys multi-year deals was just awful.

    One could reasonably make the argument that trying to get out from under these contracts was a significant part of us losing our 2016 pick, Tyson Chandler, and being unable to sign everyone we want this summer.

  30. I’ll give him a pass on the Bargnani thing because it sure seems like he basically quit/was fired in protest,

    Whoever did that one should be sent to Siberia for a couple of decades. Seriously, nothing Isiah did was quite as bad as that one. You are supposed to GET a 1st round pick to take Bargnani, not give one up to get him. I have recurring nightmares ever since that deal was announced.

  31. By my calculation – if we declined everyone’s option but cleanthony’s (ie. renounce Shump) and stretch out JR’s contract we could have as much as 24.2MM in cap space.

    What do you do with 24m and a hole at every position except SF where you have an overhyped mildly above average scorer making the max and at PG where you have a likable competent player that is not a legit all-star either?

    You still need 3 all star quality players to become a serious contender.

  32. What do you do with 24m and a hole at every position except SF where you have an overhyped mildly above average scorer making the max and at PG where you have a likable competent player that is not a legit all-star either?

    I think Millsap and R Lopez might be the best we could hope for using the $24m. Draymond’s not a natural PF and Monroe’s a trap player. Hibbert and Dragic are probably 15m+ which wouldn’t leave us enough for a second impact player. Millsap might even be able to get 15m and take a 5 year deal on Hawks. The landscape’s kind of bleak.

    You still need 3 all star quality players to become a serious contender.

    Exactly, that’s why I’m serious about that Nets trade. It may be better to stay over the cap. If B. Lopez and JR are likely to stay with their current teams (player options) and Nets want to begin rebuild this off-season, then I’d make the trade. Make the trade at the deadline and put them on a cruise ship somewhere in the Caribbean for the rest of the season while our tanker moves ahead.

    PG…Deron, Calderon, Prigs
    SG…Johnson, Calderon, Prigs
    C……Lopez, Cole, Draft Pick?
    PF…Melo, ?
    SF…Melo, 3m room exception

  33. zanzibar,

    That team would be good, but it has no chance at a title and is even money to break down with injuries. It’s not like I have a better trade ideas, but that one isn’t going to get us to the promised land. That’s why the Nets are considering blowing it up. They now know what a lot of people already knew when they put that team together.

    Honestly, the correct approach is to trade Melo for young reasonably priced assets and picks. We should attempt to rebuild what D’Antoni and Walsh were building before the Melo trade. Once you have marketable young assets, picks, and cap flexibility, you can develop players, sign FAs, get lucky in the draft, or roll them up into legit all stars when/if players like that become available. IMO, there is no sure fire way for any team to get where we want to go, but you have to be value oriented in terms of players and picks. Melo is a poor value. That’s where the long term problem is. He’s the player that has to be moved to maximize our chance of success.

    With a first round pick this year, another good pick from a Melo deal, a few young players, and some cap space we could create a very good start to a long term plan next year.

  34. By my calculation – if we declined everyone’s option but cleanthony’s (ie. renounce Shump) and stretch out JR’s contract we could have as much as 24.2MM in cap space.

    I believe that’s accurate. The issue with that, as you obviously can see, is that you’re essentially saying “Here’s Melo, Calderon and…that’s about it.” Hard to build a contender with that as your starting point. It would likely be Year 3 of Melo’s deal at the earliest that you’d have a chance at having a contender, and more like Year 4.

  35. I believe that’s accurate. The issue with that, as you obviously can see, is that you’re essentially saying “Here’s Melo, Calderon and…that’s about it.” Hard to build a contender with that as your starting point. It would likely be Year 3 of Melo’s deal at the earliest that you’d have a chance at having a contender, and more like Year 4.

    that’s why this coming draft is so so important. If somehow the Knicks get better as the season goes on and get something like the 8th (non-impact) pick, it’d be a way worse recruiting tool than having Jahil Okafor in the fold.

    I really hope Phil can find some trades before the deadline to get us some more assets. I remain convinced that Pablo could help a good team and would probably bring back a couple second rounders? Dalembert’s non guaranteed contract might be worth a 2nd round pick.

  36. Agreed.

    But also, if you’re really looking more to year three as the first realistic chance to maybe compete and more likely year four, why not try to trade Melo now for a 2016 first rounder? Then also deal Calderon and anyone else you can. You then suck next season, too, but you go into what would have been Year Three of Melo’s deal with now two first round picks plus a massive amount of cap room for when the cap jumps up a lot. So Year Four (2017-18) would still be your realistic best chance of being a legit contender, only now your window is larger since your legit contender is not built around Year Four Melo, who will likely be on his way down (if his body has even lasted that long).

  37. Year One Melo is already hobbling around like a gimp, and he’s hobbling and wincing for 40 MPG. Year Four Melo will be spending most of his time watching a 60-loss season in his designer suit.

  38. Would a lineup of jr smith th jr josh smith jason smith and bargnani qualify as the worst Knicks lineup of the millennium? Im racking my brain to think of a worse one

  39. If somehow the Knicks get better as the season goes on and get something like the 8th (non-impact) pick, it’d be a way worse recruiting tool than having Jahil Okafor in the fold.

    Yes, it would be worse, but not all that worse because established stars looking to win don’t care for patiently developing teammates. Kobe Bryan once went on a tirade about Andrew Bynum, demanding that Kupchack “ship his ass out” and get him someone that can win now. Of course, Kipchack proved wise not to let Kobe GM the team, and Bynum developed into an elite center and Kobe won two more rings. But the idea that a FA would come to NY to play with a 19 year old prospect is pretty far-fetched.

    Unfortunately, Phil needed to decide to go for it now, or build for the future. He chose the former by giving 30-35 year old Carmelo Anthony $25 mil a year. I’m afraid a 19 year old with a 4 year growth window just doesn’t fit into the plan.

  40. If Josh Smith was waived other teams should be able to acquire him and pay him the league minimum. Detroit would then pay the difference between that and his contractual salary. I think someone will do that. Perhaps the Lakers, or Sacramento, or even Dallas. Does anyone care to make a prediction?

  41. Would a lineup of jr smith th jr josh smith jason smith and bargnani qualify as the worst Knicks lineup of the millennium?

    Where would Josh Smith rank among the worst Smiths in Knick history?

    Current standings are:

    4) JR Smith
    3) Jason Smith
    2) Chris Smith
    1) Charles Smith

  42. I mean im pretty sure the chandler trade was bungled by phil and phil thought it would help him win now (which is manifestly stupid but hey ringzzzz) but it was still the least bad of the bad options I think. Even a reluctant, half capacity chandler is worth more wins than we currently have and that would be catastrophic for our already tenuous draft position

  43. Dwight Howard is going to want Josh Smith in Houston at the minimum. He actually makes sense as long as he is prepared to be the fourth offensive option. If he plays defensive and fills the lanes in transition, he is a useful player. I do not see him getting touches over Harden or Howard.

  44. yeah I’m not at all against dealing Melo right now.
    That’s definitely not going to happen IMHO unfortunately.
    Fisher needs to have some long-term thinking here, and start limiting Melo’s minutes. There’s really just no point in playing him 40+ minutes/game.

  45. I would like to get some Knickerblogger opinions on who we should take in the draft.
    Say we get the 2nd pick and Okafor is gone to Philly as the 1st pick.
    Who are you guys taking?

    I would probably take Stanley Johnson as it sits today, but I can’t help but be lured towards D’Angelo Russell from Ohio State. I wouldn’t take Mudiay as we need somebody who will instantly help (and that’s why I’m still doubting Towns).

  46. Jah. Lil. Okafor. He has to be the pick, IMO. He’s the only player that makes sense for the Knicks and gives Derrick Fisher a franchise player for the next 15 years. Say what you want about him, but a TS% of .634 with a FT% of 51.5 is downright impressive. He also leads an undefeated Duke team so far this year and has one of the best coaches in basketball as a mentor for his only year in college. I really believe it’s Jahlil Okafor or bust for the New York Knicks this season. Draft Jahlil Okafor and offer Jimmy Butler a max contract. If I have my way, Cole Aldrich would be kept and the Knicks would play Okafor, Aldrich, and Melo in the frontcourt with Calderon and Butler in the backcourt, Tim Hardaway would be our 6th Man and JR Smith would sign with the Lakers.

    But if the Knicks can’t get Jahlil Okafor, Montrezl Harrell is the player I believe was born to be a Knick. I would take him with the 2nd or 3rd pick in the draft if we couldn’t get Okafor. No other players really intrigue me except for Emmanuel Mudiay. He has John Wall’s athleticism and build with Damian Lillard’s game. So yeah, those are my three. Okafor, Mudiay, and Harrell.

  47. Is there a possibility someone might claim Josh Smith off waivers and take on his contract? I’m gonna be nervous until he’s a FA. Please someone reassure me we’re not stupid enough to do something like that. I’m going to hyperventilate. Please tell me there’s a rule that keeps us from claiming Josh Smith!!!

  48. “But if the Knicks can’t get Jahlil Okafor, Montrezl Harrell is the player I believe was born to be a Knick”

    I was there first!!!! Said it last night….

    :-)

    I am going to stake my claim now on the draft. Screw mudiay, screw Okafor.

    Montrezl Harrell has to be a New York Knick. The perfect cross of Oakley and Ben Wallace. The one player who can bring all the people who grew up watching the Riley/JVG Knicks back to the garden.

    Make this happen Phil. Aldrich and Harrell, 2016

  49. As awesome as it would be to add to our collection of terrible J Smiths, Josh is almost certainly going to a better team than the Knicks. Which is pretty amazing, on a number of levels

  50. ESPN reports

    BA front-office sources told Stein that the Sacramento Kings, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, Miami Heat and Los Angeles Clippers are among the teams that will have interest in Smith when he clears waivers Wednesday.

    We suggested three of the five reported here.

    I agree with DRed, there’s no chance the Knicks hire him. They won’t take on a two year contract, and all of the other teams listed above will be more attractive to him than the Knicks once he clears waivers.

  51. Is it time to start considering the Hawks serious contenders in the East? In their last 3 games, they beat Cleveland, Houston and Dallas, all on the road, and now stand at 20-7. Pretty damn impressive.

  52. If that German kid is for real, the Hawks are for real. If you like to gamble, they’re a great value pick to win the east.

    Crazy how much things can change in 2 years.

  53. Is it time to start considering the Hawks serious contenders in the East? In their last 3 games, they beat Cleveland, Houston and Dallas, all on the road, and now stand at 20-7. Pretty damn impressive.

    They were really good with Horford on the team last year and they got to have an almost entire season playing without him to get the other guys ready to go and now they’re clicking like crazy. I love their coach – one of the best in the game.

  54. Cuban will probably aign Smith and then flip him to the knicks for our 2018 first…

    Re the Hawks, that Millsap signing was the best free agent acquisition in memory. And they have done a great job filling out the roster and seem to have a coach who actually does reasonably intelligent stuff, which is a wonder…

  55. Atlanta and Detroit both built their rosters during the same free agency period. Pistons chose Jennings and Smith while Hawks signed Millsap and Korver and recently avoided Monroe. Hard to believe Dumars was responsible for both that Detroit chip roster and the current incarnation. I hope we’re not saying the same thing about Jax in the future.

    Regarding Millsap, that 2-year 9.5m deal was odd. He’s been one of the healthiest and most consistent players over his career. Gotta figure he thought it was better to take the 2 year deal and then snag a 5 year deal at the age of 30 rather than take a 4 year deal and have to enter free agency as a 32yo. I suspect Hawks will reward him with a sweet 5 year deal. Shame because he would have been a good fit for Triangle and Melo (versatile, guard 3s and 4s, post-up/passer).

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