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LEE MAY BE BLAZING A NEW TRAIL BY JULY 15th

As a general rule, I try to stay away from making comments about rumors during the free agency period. These days there are so many illegitimate sources for rumors, so much wasted analysis on improbable scenarios and just down right lies to create content for “news bearers” or smoke screens for NBA executives, that I prefer to wait until transactions are real or darn near close to occurring before committing myself to think about them. Well, I think the most recent David Lee news meets my criteria. By July 15th, David Lee is as likely to be a Portland Trailblazer as he is a New York Knick.

Presently, Kevin Pritchard, after losing the war for Hedo Turkoglu’s (and his family’s) heart, has his eyes and pocketbook set on Forward David Lee.

Portland has been interested in David Lee since before last season’s trading deadline, but they were certain that Walsh was not going to deal Lee until the summer. Still, Lee was not Portland’s first choice as long as there were other quality forwards available and as long as the Knicks could match any offer to Lee by July 15th. If Portland had focused on restricted free agent Lee early on, it is likely they would have lost an opportunity to target Turk and eventually would have lost Lee to the Knicks.

Now Portland must make a decision — how much is Lee, a probable back-up for this team, really worth?

On this team, David Lee, 26, is probably worth a couple of years of serious Championship contention, because he would not be required to do nearly as much as he did for the Knicks. With the Knicks, David Lee showed his versatility in satisfactorily handling opposing centers better than he did small and power forwards. It is legend that David’s defense is a rival’s happy meal, but on a unit with Greg Oden, Lee could get away with simply sticking out his foot on D. That would certainly free him up to crash boards and offensively abuse opponents in the “shallow waters.” His proficiency on the pick and roll would be manna to Brandon Roy. Lee would be a nice answer to the Blazers’ offensive woes.

The Blazers could offer David Lee $9-$10 million and not expect the Knicks to match the offer. That is fairly pricey for a back-up. All reports are that Lee does not want to be a back-up, but I would believe that for $10 million and four to five years Lee would not mind being a back-up for a contender. After all this is a business and Lee must know that he is about to reach his peak. He needs to take advantage of the market now or in 2010.

The Knicks could also match the offer with the idea of trading Lee to the Blazers for Steve Blake and Travis Outlaw who have expiring contracts. It is speculated that perhaps the Blazers would be willing to throw in Rudy Fernandez. (I wouldn’t). And perhaps, the Knicks could use this opportunity to unload Eddie Curry along with David Lee. Now, that is wild speculation.

In any event, the Knicks do not seem to be immediate winners in this situation. Unloading Curry could be considered a victory of sorts, but through it all while Knicks management can brag about creating cap space, they cannot be confident that their work will translate into a championship contender. In fact, the Knicks seem to be contradicting themselves by admitting they would disrupt the cap plan for talented old farts like Jason Kidd and Grant Hill who are on the down slope of their careers. Couple the signings of Hughes and Harrington with the other “old farts on decline” with the potential to lose David Lee, it is hard for a Knick fan to believe that Donnie Walsh is serious about building a contender.

Thus far, the Knicks handling of the draft and free agency period is highly questionable. But, we will have some answers about where they are headed shortly.

My guesses: Lee to Portland; Kidd back to Dallas; and Grant Hill to New York to replace Lee, just for the hell of it. What do you think?

POLL 1

POLL 2

POLL 3

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July 5, 2009 - Posted by | David Lee, Eddie Curry | , , , ,

31 Comments »

  1. Fanatics,

    I going to disagree with 2 of 3 on that statement:

    “My guesses: Lee to Portland; Kidd back to Dallas; and Grant Hill to New York to replace Lee, just for the hell of it. ”

    1)disagree.I don’t see Lee going to Portland.If Portland is willing to put out 9 million a season.I don’t see them spending that on Lee.A sign-n-trade at around 6-7 million,but who will Portland be willing to give up who has an expiring contact?Frye-yes(3.1 mil),Knicks-please no.The Knicks should take Rudi Fernandez( only 1 million) and/or LeFrentz’s expiring contact(12.7 mil).But since Portland is under the cap a Lafrentz for Lee,or Fernandez for Lee trade will work….o.k maybe.

    2) Agreed,Kidd will be going back to Dallas.Who would pass up an additional 6 million on their last contract?

    3)Disagree. Hill has a visit in Beantown this week too.Why lose in NY for the same money when you can win in Boston?He is too old not to want that championship before he retires.

    Comment by DLTKnicks | July 5, 2009 | Reply

  2. DLT,

    I got your back on part of that.

    The Knicks will match Lee if they must. Any other move is pure stupidity regardless of the 2010 plan. You don’t grow a forward in your backyard and let him walk, just to replace him with an old head. However, I believe that Channing Frye has been released. Are you sure LaFrentz is available. Check out this salary listing.

    No way Kidd comes to NY. He did a good job of forcing Cuban’s hand. He’s almost outta this league. Why would you let that much money go. He’s not crazy. And his ex-wife (she is ex right?) would not be too happy. Plus, why play for a losing org.

    Hill is meeting with Boston? I heard, but do you really think Boston will make him an offer. Why? Where is Rasheed Wallace? He’s not in Celtic green yet? Walsh wants to pick up somebody with gray hair. Maybe Keith Van Horn will want to earn some extra money.

    Comment by livesinnewjersey | July 5, 2009 | Reply

  3. Lives,

    I hear ya.I’m looking at the ESPN Trade Machine,which seems to be out dated.I still would try to get Fernandez in the deal and/or somehow dump Jeffries too.Those would be my goals if I were to let Lee go.

    I don’t see why The Knicks would want Kidd.LBJ would want to come here to play with a 38 year old PG? PLEASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSE!
    We should be trying to build a championship team.Not a team of names from the past.

    Actually, I read Doc Rivers is meeting with Grant Hill today.They both live in Orlando.The question is: do they have any money to offer if R.Wallace accepts their first offer? We don’t need Hill. He will be taking time away from Chandler and Rooster,not to mention you still have Harrington and Hughes at those positions.

    Play the young guys.Douglas,Chandler,Rooster,Lee and Hill(the Rookie)

    Lives,
    What do we do about N8? Sign-n-trade with LAL,Orlando,Portland or Sac?

    Comment by D L T Knicks | July 5, 2009 | Reply

  4. …And oh yea, ask Portland about Bayless in the Lee trade talks.

    Comment by D L T Knicks | July 5, 2009 | Reply

  5. IGM I love the following portion of this most recent thread:

    “In any event, the Knicks do not seem to be immediate winners in this situation. Unloading Curry could be considered a victory of sorts, but through it all while Knicks management can brag about creating cap space, they cannot be confident that their work will translate into a championship contender. In fact, the Knicks seem to be contradicting themselves by admitting they would disrupt the cap plan for talented old farts like Jason Kidd and Grant Hill who are on the down slope of their careers. Couple the signings of Hughes and Harrington with the other “old farts on decline” with the potential to lose David Lee, it is hard for a Knick fan to believe that Donnie Walsh is serious about building a contender.”

    Sometimes Walsh comes out looking terrible, especially with the schmoozing of the Oldies. I keep hearing about creating a professional environment inside MSG for the Knicks as an organization. Don’t the Knicks have professionals? Heck if you want a professional ball club why not not pay equal attention to the defensive side of the ball. The best clubs in the league are coached on both ends of the court. That’s professionalism,… get a coach who’ll pay attention to both sides of the court!

    With regards to the predictions. I think Kid will resign with the Mavs.

    Hill, ugh! Why Over the Hill grant Hill! The Knicks have Chandler, and Gallinari at the 3/4 spots. Why when the team just trade Q to free up more space for out young 3s would the Knicks entertain hiring Grant Hill? Why b/c he fits teh system? He’ll just take minutes away from our up and coming 3s? That is assenine and make Walsh look like he has no clue what the heck he’s doing!

    On the other Hand with the Portland having to play wait and see with the Lee as they have to keep their options open to other free agents in the Market,… Walsh should have the upper hand to at least work a favorable deal in the Knicks favor- no not to dump Jefferies or Curry- put to at least insist on some quality – Outlaw or Pryzbilla plus Fernandez (2) or Bayless- instead of some expiring contracts with nothing back in return. Can Walsh capitilize on such a situation if it is indeed true.

    On the other hand the Blazers have LaMarcus Aldridge at the 4 spot,… why would they, Portland, pay 9 to 10 million for a back up? At about 6-7 million that expenditure might make more sense and it would make Walsh’s option of resigning or acquiring a quality sign in trade package in return a pretty solid prospect

    Comment by orangeandblue1 | July 5, 2009 | Reply

  6. As expected, Kidd Stays With Mavericks. That’s good news as far as I am concerned. But I’m sure those who believed that LeBron might actually follow Kidd to the Knicks might be upset that LeBron could go to Dallas in a sign and trade instead.

    Yeah, right.

    DLT,

    I am a Nate fan. At this point, he is the only real entertainment we will have next season. He is not a perfect point by any means, but for this system he is better than Duhon and he is the only player we have (with Crawford and Marbury gone) who can control the end of games and creates a matchup problem. Harrington can score but he can’t will the ball into the basket and create his own shot consistently at the end of games. And none of our players, other than Nate (not including the rooks who I don’t know about in this regard)are savvy enough to get us into the foul penalty phase in the fourth so we can get extra points from our offensive aggression at the end of games.

    At this point, that leaves me really rooting for Danilo’s return. Although I am skeptical that he can return from back surgery to be the best he can be, you gotta give the rook about three years to reach his potential. I am hoping he shoots lights out this season and makes some nice drives and wins a couple of games for us. I want some ohs and ahs and Gallo is the most likely source other than Nate this fall.

    (P.S. Plus I am tired of Walsh making me look so good in criticizing his efforts. At least be right about something, please. Sheeesh.)

    Comment by livesinnewjersey | July 6, 2009 | Reply

    • Yeah, i am glad Kidd signed with Dallas, also. He used NY to raise the stakes for his REAL focus. He won’t be the first, nor the last.

      Lee’s market appears to be vanishing, at least w/r/t offer sheets. OKCity appears to be bowing out, and they were the last team with cap space who could ink him to an offer sheet.

      This strengthens Donnie’s position, big-time. He can now hold out for a very attractive sign-n-trade offer on his terms, or even simply hold to inking Lee to a maximum mid-level offer. This of course might de-motivate Lee, but it’ll put a whole lot of pressure on Lee’s agent to start working the phones, applying some back-room pressure and getting a deal done that makes Donnie smile.

      According to RealGM: “Contrary to reports, the Wizards are not interested in signing free agent guard Stephon Marbury. Marbury has been linked to Washington. Flip Saunders coached Marbury in Minnesota, but interest in a reunion appears to be solely one-sided.” HAHAHA

      Agreed, we can really only deal Nate for a true point, a scoring point, or at absolute worst as a Jeffries/Curry sweetener. i liked the idea of bringing in Iverson on the cheap to serve in Nate’s role (using Nate to make Jeffries go away), but it appears that “The Answer” is fixated on Memphis.

      Z-Bo and AI on the same team. Wow. Peaceman probably thinks they’ll be good for fifty wins, LOL. =)

      Comment by Paul | July 6, 2009 | Reply

      • Paul:

        ROFLMAO!!!!!!!

        “Z-Bo and AI on the same team. Wow. Peaceman probably thinks they’ll be good for fifty wins, LOL. =)”

        Well at least Walsh hasn’t hurt the Knicks any further this season with those proposed assinine moves to sign Hill or Kidd! He’s almost like the GM version of the Nets coach, that little white dude, who won in the fading of the Nets glory days despite himself. Walsh is not hurting the team further despite himself!

        Comment by orangeandblue1 | July 6, 2009

      • LOL..come on Paul? Zach and AI hav never been my favorites?
        I do like our draft choices in Douglas and Hill and we better sign Almond as our SG. If we’re rebuilding and we ARE, Douglas PG, Almond SG, Jordan Hill PF, Darko C, and Chandeler at SF should be our starters and future. That would give us plenty of depth on the bench. We need to trade LEE at all costs before his stock drops faster that a Big Mac on Eddy Curry’s plate!

        Comment by Peaceman | July 7, 2009

      • LOL @ Peaceman:

        “We need to trade LEE at all costs before his stock drops faster that a Big Mac on Eddy Curry’s plate!”

        Comment by livesinnewjersey | July 7, 2009

    • Lives,

      I agree with Paul and O&B.Glad Kidd is NOT coming.

      As for N8,I’m mixed.I like what he brings to the Knicks with his energy.But,I would like to see another player run the point besides Duhon.(maybe Sessions,Bibby,Miller).I think we need someone with better skills to manage the team.Guess I will be happy and sad either way it goes with N8.

      Comment by DLTKnicks | July 6, 2009 | Reply

  7. Paul,

    I’m not absolutely sure (I’ll check when I have time to do more than a drive by comment), but I think Lee has the slight upper hand here. I think he can accept the one year qualifying offer and go back on the market next year.

    Comment by livesinnewjersey | July 6, 2009 | Reply

    • Are you saying that the Knicks ought to be wary of a Lee scorned? Since next year he can just walk off and leave.

      By feautring Lee’s, no defense playing self, the Knicks in effect plumbed up his stats in [ ]’ontoni’s high paced offense. The same was done to Z-bo with the purpose of jettisoning him. So what does that say about Lee’s stats? Inflated like his ego at this point?

      Comment by orangeandblue1 | July 6, 2009 | Reply

  8. IGM,

    Good post regarding David Lee, but I doubt if Portland signs Lee. Portland wanted Hedo because he is a small forward that can shoot the 3-pointer, handle the ball, and has playoff experience that can lead a young team. David Lee cannot play small forward, has limited range, does not have a handle and has never played in a playoff game. Portland will not offer Lee, but his agent is blowing smoke to create interest. Lee may get an offer, but it will not be the money set-aside for Hedo.

    While the Knicks are focusing on the long-term, 2010, the elite teams understand that to get to the long-term you have to take care of the short-term. Rasheed to Celts will limit KG’S minutes during the regular season and therefore keep him healthy for the playoffs. A big man trio of KG, Rasheed, & Perkins is tough defensively in the interior. Wow!!

    Who won the Steph & Knicks showdown? It appears the Knicks were the winner. Steph by shutting it down on the Knicks and Isiah, and then missing most of last year could never regain his timing. He lacked confidence and looked unsure. Dolan accomplished his objective, and there are not a lot of teams looking to sign Steph. The moral of the story is Karma can be a bytch.

    Man the Knicks are losing and the games have not even started.

    Peace & Blessings–Always enjoy the present, because the future is not guaranteed.

    Comment by Statesman2 | July 6, 2009 | Reply

  9. If Walsh lets Lee and Nate go in sone kind of sign and trade, and also manages to move Jeffries and Curry now or later, the only Knick left on the roster from the Isiah era will be Chandler. Remember tha Chandler’s name was also floated in trade talks with Washington last month as a aeans to get the 5th pick in the draft.

    I will certainly not be sorry if both Curry and Jeffries depart, hopefully sooner rather than later, but losing Lee, Nate and/or Chandler will result in a group of players who barely know each other, much less having any ny team chemistry, or team identity for the fans. For me the “team” will then be virtually unrecognizable–all for the purpose of playing out the 2009 season in a losing fashion, then dumping almost everyone again to create some 2010 fantasy “dream team” to be purchased and assembled later. How soon can the Nets move to Brooklyn?

    Comment by Post-up Prince | July 6, 2009 | Reply

    • Maybe Walsh is some sort of Fantasy Rotisserie league GM just taking it on the chin till he can make his move to get the big money impact players,… that may just sign elsewhere b/c the Knicks can’t make any progress in 2009.

      Actually if we think about it he has been ho hum this free agent period despite himself. Had Hill and Kid signed what impact would they have had other than increase the teams percieved professionalism, assinine comment by the great Howard Beck, when the most professional thing the Knicks can do is insist that either the coach coach both sides of the ball with equal ardor or hire a coach who can help provide the coaching on that side of the ball that [ ]’Ontoni obviously doesn’t provide!

      Comment by orangeandblue1 | July 6, 2009 | Reply

  10. Let me take you all back, way back to a game our NYK warriors played against Indiana where JayBee and O&B did the color on an LBE. The line went something like…the PG dribbles up court and passes the ball to an unimpressive white guy. That dude whips it around to another equally dull white baller who shoots a brick from the left hash. The ball is rebounded by a tall spirited white guy over our own JJeff who had this stupid look on his face–like, who are all these White Aryan dudes?
    Welcome to your NYK folks. Euroball has come to NY and []’Anfoni is out to prove his system can win in the NBA. What D?
    This is a rebuilding season–lots of repairs and renovations goin on in the building so the extra traffic and wear/tear on the Mecca won’t sit well. The franchise value is being driven down for going public. Mills and IT were working for a profit. Honest Don will stand there like an honorable gramps selling Timberwolf Tickets. Look at the product that will be fielded next year. For the first time, the NYK will have no bona fide STAR! Shallow Water is not ready for prime time. Kryptonate is a hero to folks like Steady and the Little People in a world of giants. Where is our King of the F’n Hill Marquee DW? Can Little Italy carry all of NY? Since when? It’s always been about the Brooklyn Way. Good luck with that, fellas. It’s your money and the Golden Rule applies. Just stop tryna make me believe that these three Kings in your 3-card Monty are any different then the last three kings–pain, spade, fools. I’m keeping my money and passion on ice check until 2010.

    Steady as IT goes trolling down Collins.

    KFL

    Comment by Steady | July 6, 2009 | Reply

  11. Isiah’s a wanna-be suicide and a five year failure who did as much to hold the Knicks back as any white man. May he die slow.

    Comment by Sharpman | July 7, 2009 | Reply

    • @Sharpman,
      your on the wrong blog! Isiah is as much history as Fredrick Weis! You want to spew venom…how about Gallinari?
      Brook Lopez should be the Knick starting center, and you talk about Zeke? Get real, and I’m glad you chose “Sharpman”
      instead of “Sharpmind!”

      Comment by Peaceman | July 7, 2009 | Reply

  12. Sharpman, I hope that comment wasn’t a hit and run or a drive by. If you truly believe that I hope you comeback and support your statement, if you can.

    Steady as it goes. 2010 is falling apart a little early. Wade says he wants to be on a contender and will take competitiveness and palm trees over any other venue. What makes us think that he would skip being on a contender to play an additional few games at the Mecca with Gallinari, Duhon and Wilson.

    Ariza let it slip that LeBron considered all the New York speculation to be foolish. The LeBron brand is about loyalty and Cleveland has consistently done whatever is required to make LeBron happy.

    Let’s face it, this current round of free agency is an indictment of the “current” direction of the Knicks. The best free agents would rather go to a contender than play for a pretender. (We are pretenders pretending to be interested in being good.) The good ones are simply using Walsh for financial or political leverage. (Dallas was afraid to call Kidd’s bluff, just as Miami is afraid to call Wade’s). Kidd was using us for his final payday (What you expect) and LeWade is using us to force their franchises to build teams that could beat Boston and LA in the post-season.

    Even the free agents willing to accept the mid-level exception preferred other markets.

    So this summer, we made no improvements that will lure the top “franchise” free agents in 2010.

    Comment by livesinnewjersey | July 7, 2009 | Reply

  13. @ Bronxboy…we finally got OUR boy Morris Almond!
    This Kid is going to a pickup like Starks/Mason was!
    In D’Antoni’s system a 6’5 shooting guard like him
    can be our next All STAR via the way AGENT ZERO did it!
    I believe we are going to be happy with Douglas as PG!
    I pray that Gallo is 75% of his hype and we may be on to
    a future core! I think Hill will be a BUST…sorry..
    call it like I see it! I think we may see that 7’0 guy from
    Florida southern make the team this year! Trying to stay positive…

    Comment by Peaceman | July 7, 2009 | Reply

  14. “Hit the open man, play defense, all the rest is commentary.” guess who?

    The game was invented in 1891.Whether you walked or ran there were always two baskets.You scored on one and defended the other.Subtracting defense is amputating half the game.Take defense out of baseball, football, hockey, what have you got?Is this evolution or devolution?Euroball may have improved, but everytime I watch it thoughts of the YMCA come flowing back to me.D’Ant needs to go back to Italy, or Golden State where the game seems to have taken a left turn.LA, the C’s, Orlando and San Antone have all gotten better defensively.L.A.with Artest, Damn!!!But we, who live in the Mecca of the game have to put up with Wrong Way Corrigan’s evil twin, the other sharpshooter from West Virginia who doesn’t D-up.J-West was grear defensively.It’s a very good thing it’s only a game!SOS!

    Comment by Tman | July 7, 2009 | Reply

    • On the money as usual TMan

      There is absolutely nothing professional about a team that is not coached with equal attention to detail and zeal on both sides of the ball. Signing players on the down side of their careers to bring that “professionalism” to the Garden is just another empty ruse,… that may go over well with the feeble minded fan boys but should be an insult to the intelligence of any Knicks Fan who respects the game as it should be played… on both ends of the court!

      Comment by orangeandblue1 | July 7, 2009 | Reply

    • Orlando got better defensively? They lost Gortat & Lee, who were hard-nosed guys & added Vinsanity, who’s all offense.

      We’ll improve defensively this year. Just not having Z-Bo and Crawford playing major minutes will help dramatically.

      The key is pick-n-roll defense, we have been AWFUL at that. D’Antoni certainly hasn’t improved Nate’s performance much, although i did notice him get visibly frustrated and vocal at times when Nate would just float under screens. That has to stop….in fact, the ONLY reason why i would not be too upset with Nate & JJ-or-Eddy sign-n-trade is because i think Nate (a former football player) will simply never ever be a passable defender under any coach.

      Oh – and since Crawford is now free of Coach D’Antoni’s influence, i am sure he’ll turn into a ballhawking lockdown defender in Hotlanta under Mike Woodson, right? It’s all coaching, not players, right? Sheeeiiiiiiiittttttttt

      Comment by Paul | July 9, 2009 | Reply

  15. Fanatics!!!! Could Walsh & Bird be using the same business plan? This article was written by Bob Kravitz of the Indy Star.

    In Indiana, and in many other parts of the NBA-watching world, it’s the giant white elephant in the middle of the room.

    Is Pacers president Larry Bird specifically trying to build a team dominated by white players?

    It’s an uncomfortable question to ask in these politically correct days, but how do you ignore a roster that includes Mike Dunleavy, Troy Murphy, Josh McRoberts, Travis Diener, Jeff Foster and now, first-round pick Tyler Hansbrough?

    In a league where little more than 10 percent of the players are white Americans, the Pacers roster is racially split down the middle, making them one of the whitest teams in the league.

    “I don’t see race at all,” Bird said recently. “I know a lot of it comes out of the brawl (in 2004 at Detroit), people think Indiana has to get all white guys, but I don’t buy any of that. I played in Boston, where it didn’t matter who came in or who left, it was who helped us win. (Late Celtics coach and architect) Red (Auerbach) never saw color. And I don’t, either. I just pick them. If we hadn’t taken Tyler Hansbrough, it would have been Ty Lawson. And if I could have gotten another pick (later in the first round), I would have taken Sam Young or Wayne Ellington.”

    There is the perception, fueled in part by local and national sports talk shows, that because the Pacers imploded after the brawl and had several other off-court embarrassments that involved a select few black players, they’re overcompensating by stocking the roster with white players they perceive (and their fans perceive) to be choirboys. This overlooks the fact that since Bird got involved in the draft process, eight of the 10 Pacers draftees have been black.

    Feel free to question Bird’s judgment as a basketball executive, and there’s plenty to question (see the empty 2006 draft of Shawne Williams and James White). But don’t question the motivation behind his choices. If anybody understands that race doesn’t matter, it’s Bird.

    In some ways, the Pacers president is still held hostage by some of the comments he made to Jim Gray in a 2004 ESPN roundtable discussion. Asked if the NBA would benefit from having more white stars (specifically white American stars), Bird answered:

    “Well, I think so. I think so. You know when I played you had me and Kevin (McHale) and some others throughout the league. I think it’s good for a fan base because, as we all know, the majority of the fans are white America. And if you just had a couple of white guys in there, you might get them a little excited . . .”

    How is that different than saying that Major League Baseball needs more black stars? Or that the NBA needed a Chinese-born star to open that huge market?

    Bird also caught heat for saying that as a player, he was insulted whenever a white player tried to guard him. To this day, he still feels that way. Strongly.

    Whatever you think of the statement, does that sound like a guy who thinks so highly of white players, he would go out of his way to trade for, sign and draft them? Think about it.

    “I say what I say and however people take it, they take it,” he said. Then he paused. “People are still trying to figure out how a kid from French Lick, Indiana, made it to the NBA and played his ass off and won, and took no (bleep) off anybody. There are always people out there.”

    At one point in our conversation, I tossed out the supposition that Hansbrough, whose selection was partially jeered on draft night in Indianapolis, is the victim of reverse racial profiling.

    Bird didn’t bite, but here’s my theory: When a white player is drafted (particularly a white American), we immediately think of the many famous white busts throughout history. I’ll admit it: When I heard Hansbrough’s name, I had a Rick Robey flashback. It could have been Scott Haskin. Or Joe Wolf. Or, more recently, Adam Morrison and J.J. Redick.

    The truth is, if we had looked at Hansbrough’s resume without seeing his picture, we’d have slotted him as a certain top-10 pick. When Bird looks at his No. 13 selection, he sees a player in the mold of former Boston great Dave Cowens.

    “I hear people say how (Tyler) lacks athleticism,” Bird said. “All I know is he can run, he can jump and he can score. He stayed in college four years, so that gave people more time to analyze and pick apart his game, but he’s going to do very well in this league.”

    Hansbrough had a terrific summer league debut Monday.

    “All these idiots out there, just wait until (Hansbrough) starts playing,” Bird said. “Then they’ll say, ‘Oh, I see that now. I never saw that before.’ Just wait.”

    In the end, it’s not about black and white, but the bottom line is printed in black and white.

    Wins and losses.

    And nothing else matters.

    Comment by Statesman2 | July 8, 2009 | Reply

  16. Walsh was the GM when the Pacers had a consulting firm do a study that recommended the team acquire more White players. I am sure he kept his copy. Darko??? Please. Does he think a plan geared for a midwest team will work in the Apple?

    I see a starting front-court of Darko, DLee & Roosta. If the Knicks get Rubio or Nash look-out.

    Peace & Blessings

    Comment by Statesman2 | July 8, 2009 | Reply

    • You always find the intel like a true Force in the MD Statesman. Anyway, its out there and I trust that they will pick it up. When one looks at the last Monty comment about the season ticket holders, going Euroball is now moot. What is the largest and highest paying fan base? What do they consider entertaining basketball? Dipsy-doo-razzle-dazzle-behind-the-back-alley-oop or straight power basketball a la Rucker Park with ankle breaking crossover dribbles? Well we know what we like here. Watch the Lil’ General bust out the rules this summer cracking down on the palming and carrying call more this season starting this summer league. They said it before but they will mean it now. Brandon Jennings, go back to dribbling school as this initiative is to phase you and Sebastian Telfair out of the NBA.
      Some NYers may come to love Euroball since they will continue to buy season tickets. For the NY B-ball purist who remember the black socks and close cuts and the “No Lay-ups” mantra, may this oasis in cyberspace be your respite.

      OKFL–the O for Oakley’s

      Steady as IT goes to call JoeD about jobs in Detroit.

      Comment by Steady | July 9, 2009 | Reply

    • i agree Darko’s no great shakes, Statesman…..but i think the likes of Amare & KG weren’t available in a trade for Q-Rich. =)

      Kinda funny though when an entirely black 15-man roster is not worthy of mention or thought, but string four or five white guys on a team….

      Huge, complicated trade sends Marion to Dallas. He’ll like playing with Kidd, you know, the broken-down old man that many Knicks fans feel isn’t worthy to pull on the orange & blue.

      This creates a big-time trade exception for Orlando, and also leaves the mid-level exception available for Toronto. Does this create joy in the Bartlestein household? Only time will tell….

      ———from ESPN.Com Insider—————–

      It’s all about prying the window open as long as you can. And with this week’s moves to re-up Jason Kidd, sign Marcin Gortat to an offer sheet and acquire Shawn Marion in a four-team deal, the Mavs are doing all they can to keep it from slamming shut while Dirk Nowitzki is still an elite player.

      Wednesday’s complicated four-way deal with Orlando, Toronto and Memphis sends Marion to the Mavs on a five-year deal worth an estimated $39 million, and his running ability should make him a deadly complement to Kidd in transition. As part of the deal, the Mavs also get Memphis’ Greg Buckner and Raptors forward Kris Humphries, an underrated and productive player who likely takes over Brandon Bass’ role as a scoring big man off the bench.

      Buckner’s contract isn’t fully guaranteed and he’ll likely be waived, but he won’t be the only one after the trade is completed. The Mavs sent Jerry Stackhouse to Memphis along with $3 million in cash, and the Grizzlies will waive Stackhouse since he’s only guaranteed $2 million of his $7 million salary. Dallas also sent Antoine Wright and Devean George to Toronto as part of the deal.

      Memphis also gets guard Quincy Douby from Toronto, whose deal is also not guaranteed. At the end of the day, the Grizzlies earned $2.5 million for renting their cap space for the deal: the cash from Dallas minus the $500,000 difference between Buckner’s $1.5 million guarantee and Stackhouse’s $2 million.

      Orlando’s participation was agreeing to sign-and-trade Hedo Turkoglu to Toronto rather than allowing the Raptors to sign him directly. The Magic will get a trade exception worth approximately $8 million as a result, which gives them an option for adding personnel should their pursuit of big men with the midlevel exception not work out.

      Meanwhile, Toronto wriggled out of the bind their deal with Turkoglu put them in. The Raptors had to either renounce their rights to several players to give him the five-year, $53 million deal they’d agreed to or had to work a sign-and-trade for Turkoglu.

      Toronto’s acquisition is now technically a trade, which means three things for the Raptors. First, they got a passable wing reserve in the deal in Dallas’ Wright. Second, Toronto didn’t have to renounce its rights to Carlos Delfino and can sign him as another quality wing. And third, they still can use their midlevel and biannual exceptions to round out their roster this summer.

      This is huge for the Raps, as their roster otherwise would have been completely denuded. I was already getting e-mails from Toronto fans with questions like “Think we can get Matt Barnes for the minimum?” Now they can pursue some added frontcourt help with their exceptions and make a real run at the playoffs.

      In fact, by only getting the trade exception, Orlando let them off the hook quite cheaply. The Magic got cash in the deal, and that always helps, but I’m amazed they didn’t get a draft pick or some other form of compensation for their trouble. They’ve enabled a conference rival to escape from a mess of their own making at shockingly little cost. Orlando is well over the luxury-tax line already and might never use the exception. And besides, they already had a midlevel exception available to use. The Magic should have demanded more to let Toronto off the mat.

      [+] EnlargeDirk Nowitzki
      D. Clarke Evans/NBAE/Getty ImageAdding Marion gives Dallas another opportunity to capitalize on Dirk Nowitzki’s prime seasons.

      Nonetheless, it’s the Mavs that are the story here. It’s likely small forward Josh Howard would move to shooting guard to start games, while Jason Terry finishes them, and that the Mavs will often play small with Nowitzki and Marion as a tandem up front. If so, they can create a potentially fearsome starting five of Kidd, Howard, Marion, Nowitzki and Gortat, with a quality second unit of J.J. Barea, Terry, Quinton Ross, Humphries and Erick Dampier behind them. Should they re-sign Bass, an unrestricted free agent, they’d be even more formidable.

      That said, this could all go to hell amazingly fast. On opening day, Kidd will be 36, Dampier 34, Terry 32, Nowitzki 31 and Marion 30; Howard also turns 30 in April. Of their top seven players, only Gortat, 25, could be described as in his prime, but he has the opposite problem: He’s so untested that there’s still some uncertainty surrounding how he’ll perform as a 30-minute starter.

      On the other hand, based on last season’s performance, this team looks like a real danger to the West’s elite. Dallas boasts eight players who had a PER above the league average last season — nine if Bass re-signs — and one of them is a genuine star in Nowitzki.

      In a Western Conference in which several of the contenders appear to be shrinking rather than rising, the Mavs are trying to seize the opening for a credible rival to the Lakers to emerge. Thanks to Mark Cuban’s willingness to spend freely on a winner, they might have done it. However, Dallas will once again pay far above the luxury tax, and if the age bug strikes, Cuban’s dollars might buy a shockingly average team.

      But they have a chance to be really good, and at this point it’s more than a lot of teams can say. I don’t know what Marion has left in his legs, and in most situations I wouldn’t be willing to pay almost $40 million over five years to find out. But in this situation, Dallas seized a unique opportunity presented by Toronto’s Turkoglu snag. In doing so, they’ve managed to keep that window open at least one season longer.

      Finally, while I have your attention, a few other news items warrant further discussion:

      • The Blazers’ rumored pursuit of Paul Millsap is a decent risk for Portland. The team has talked about getting more physical since losing to Houston in the first round, and Millsap adds that dimension. He’s also capable of playing with LaMarcus Aldridge in the same frontcourt if need be. Additionally, Utah might not be in a position to match, given its intolerable luxury-tax situation.

      Portland can offer five years, $45 million with its current cap space, or five years, $52 million if they renounce their rights to Joel Freeland and Petteri Koponen. I like the former arrangement for two reasons. First, there’s no reason to go punting away two assets for no reason. And second, $52 million is too much money for Millsap.

      Actually, $45 million is too much, given he’ll be coming off the bench, but it’s a little easier to justify for Portland because they have a short window to use this cap space and obtain talent. They can always make a trade somewhere down the road to even out the roster.

      Matching an offer for Millsap would put the Jazz $11 million over the luxury-tax threshold at the lower contract, $12 million at the higher. That’s another reason not to bother with the $53 million: It really doesn’t change the economics much for the Jazz.

      During the seven days Utah has to match, the two sides could also agree to a sign-and-trade with the same contract terms for Millsap. If Utah included Kyle Korver and took back Travis Outlaw and the rights to Koponen and Freeland, the Jazz would only be $2 million over the tax and could probably dump the remaining salary at the trade deadline if need be.

      Finally, Utah could preemptively agree to a sign-and-trade before Millsap inked an offer sheet with Portland. In that case, he could get a six-year deal with 10 percent raises. The carrot for Utah would be to include Matt Harpring in the above trade instead of Korver. Millsap would get a six-year, $55 million deal in that scenario and the Jazz would only be about half a million dollars over the tax threshold.

      • In a little piece of bookkeeping business, Houston got a $5.7 million disabled player exception for Yao Ming and used that instead of the midlevel exception to sign Trevor Ariza.

      This preserves Houston’s midlevel and theoretically makes it possible for them to double-dip and pursue somebody like Bass or Milwaukee guard Ramon Sessions. But that’s only in theory. I doubt Houston will use its midlevel given its need to avoid the tax this season and preserve cap space for next summer. But it’s a nice option to keep around in case they need it later in the season. Since the Rockets only have 45 days to use the injured player exception but all season to use the midlevel — and the salary afforded by each was the same — it made sense to do it this way.

      • Signing Jannero Pargo to a one-year deal was a great coup for the Bulls for a few reasons. First of all, they needed a fourth guard now that Ben Gordon left for Detroit. And since Derrick Rose and Kirk Hinrich are both big point guards, he can play off the ball with either and switch assignments on defense.

      Second, the one-year part is crucial. Chicago needs to preserve as much cap space as possible for a year from now, when they could potentially make a run at Chicago native Dwyane Wade or some of the other juicy free agents. That’s also why you’re hearing Tyrus Thomas’ name so much; Chicago can only get big cap room if it doesn’t make him a qualifying offer, so better to trade him now and get something in return than be left high and dry a year from now.

      Comment by Paul | July 9, 2009 | Reply

  17. Fanatics,
    Offering two 36 year olds contracts for 3 years, that would count against the 2010 proves that wait until 2010 is a ruse. Walsh & D’Antoni do not have a plan. Kidd is done and Hill is on the downside, but they are considered vital parts? Villanueva, Ariza or Milsap offer more youth and potential. I am confused.

    Paul,
    It isn’t that Walsh and D’Antoni are acquiring White or Euro-ballas. The issue is that there appears to be a concerted effort to acquire these ballas even when they are not the best players available or offer little reason to be acquired. For example, it could be argued before his signing that Jerome James deserved the mid-level signing. He was coming off a strong playoff where he exhibited rebounding and strong defense. The Knicks were running a traditional offense and defense (or at least pretended), and did not have a center. Without a doubt James proved unworthy of the veteran’s minimum, but his pursuit was justified. On the other hand Darko has not done jack shyte in the league. Not for a series, a week, or couple of games. He has been a bust on experienced teams (Pistons), inexperienced teams(Grizzles), and teams with a budding star(Howard in Orlando). This Busta isn’t Dirk, hell he isn’t even Brad Miller, now the starting center.

    Paul, edu-mo-cate me on why Darko was acquired. Tell me what he offers.

    Peace & Blessings

    Comment by Statesman2 | July 9, 2009 | Reply

    • Opportunity cost – Darko is taller and bulkier than Q-Rich, it was just a slight roster rebalance of moving a useless $8M swingman for a useless $8M center. We needed a center more than a wingman.

      Will Darko play much? i doubt it. But he serves as a more credible threat to Eddy’s playing time than Q-Rich did. Theoretically, that provides some slight marginal additional pressure for Eddy to “shape up” this summer so we can give him some burn and ship his ass out.

      To sum: i don’t think Q-Rich was gonna fetch a Dirk or a Brad Miller, he wasn’t worth much. Broken down overpaid wingman for stiff tall dud. Now you see why i was excited by the Hill pick at #8 where almost no one else was, because it gives us a viable choice between the yin/yang doofus duo of Eddy & Darko. Or we could play that giraffe on rollerskates at center (Jared Jeffries).

      i agree with you on Jerome, we were a very small team at that time and Isiah needed a center. He beclowned himself shortly thereafter with the Curry deal…..if he had resisted that temptation and given Jerome 28 minutes a night that first year of his contract, things may have turned out very differently for everyone concerned.

      Comment by Paul | July 9, 2009 | Reply

    • Well, it’s really just one offer given to two different guys.

      Using the bi-annual exception on Grant Hill for three years does seem kinda dumb to me. i like Hill, i think his passing ability, length & character would be a good influence on this team – but i would not have made that offer if i were GM.

      Kidd however i think will still be a formidable player three years from now. Top 10 superstar? No, but he’d get us into the playoffs, all three years.

      I think Indiana made a savvy move by signing Dahntay Jones to a 4-year, $11M deal. i love his competitiveness and defense and passion. Maybe Toney Douglass can be that guy we so desperately need in the backcourt…..he could really win NY fans over, we are soooo starved for some backcourt defenders. Do you miss Derek Harper, John Starks & Greg Anthony? i sure do. Do you think they’d stop playing “D” if they were coached by D’Antoni? Hell no!

      Comment by Paul | July 9, 2009 | Reply


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