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Knicks Revivalism (Part 2: Divine Numerology; Arm Chair Joe Questions; and to Hang Ten at the Tides Crest or Wipe Out Amidst a Tsunami of Immense Expectations)

[As the Knicks draw ever so closer to the Sanctified date indicated by the 2010 Plan Cult Holy Trinity, resident blogger Orange and Blue throws some lime in that 2010 koolaid and dares to question the logic of the Holy Trinity Franchise Orthodoxy!]

Hang Ten at the Tides Crest . . . or a Wipe Out at the Tsunami on the Horizon?

Three is the Magic Number and Good Things Come in Threes, heck if you use numerology to size up what number the sacred day 2010 produces, … ta da it produces the number 3! Hey if you spell out the names of the three members of the Knicks 2010 Plan Cult Holy Trilogy: Donnie Walsh (11); Lebron James (11); and Alan Hahn (8) you get 11+11+8=30 but in numerology is actually 3. Whoa! This ain’t coincidence people, … there are magical forces at work in the universe beyond our control fating the fortunes of Walsh, Hahn and James together in a cosmological equation beyond our understanding. No Doubt about it! The 2010 date as day of jubilee is indeed on its way!

Tatoo Part 2

“THE PLAN,” getting ready to Hang Ten at the Tides Crest…?

OBTW “The Plan” = 7 + “Tatoo” = 5… 7+5 = 12 = a numerological … 3!

Ain’t the Plan Lovely?…

Back to reality and some spiking of that 2010 Koolaid with a dose of questions and some unheeded reality. As noted previously, the 2010 Plan Cult Holy Trinity represents a shifting of the tide for the Knicks organization. However, does that tide in and of itself usher in a whole different set of imbalances detrimental to the building of a contending NBA Franchise. Currently the Franchise’s actions, or lack thereof, indicate that management may have key free agents expire when their contracts are up without possibly obtaining anything in return. Additionally, the Franchise option not to secure an up and coming buck to address the team’s need at point guard, where such a move may have provided the organization with an additional value added asset when exposed to the current system of play. Lastly, the current head coach’s, failure to address the need for adequate coaching on the defensive side of the ball, while insisting on a style of play that devolves into an overreliance on three point shooting and long jumpers is a model that has consistently failed to succeed against more defensively oriented coaching models. More importantly is the understated nature of the gamble at play in 2010 and the great stakes for the Franchise should 2010 not materialize as ideally expected. At stake in the latest “Win Now” gamble, and make no mistake 2010 is “Win Now” on a studder step, may very well be the slow but steadily replenished cupboard of talent nursed to fruition over the span of time after the Scott Layden regime. What may be deduced from assessing the possible flaws, actual miscues and high stakes gamble at play resulting from management’s dogged stated fixation with “the plan,” suggest that the organization might just as easily Wipe Out as it just may Hang Ten when the 2010 Tsunami of inflated expectations comes to the shores of Knicks Fate.

Tatoo In Agony

Maybe NOT!…

Maybe NOT!!!

Squandering Assets and opportunities?

I. LoveLee hand, DeadLee hand, drifting Nates and fleeting fates

The contract plights of RFAs David Lee and Nate Robinson, in which both waited till the week before the beginning of the 2009-10 training camp to secure one year offers beyond the qualifying minimum[1], could result in a scenario whereby the Franchise may fail to retain either player when they join the pool of unrestricted free agents in 2010. The Franchise’s failure to secure both players in a manner which may have provided them fuller trade possibilities, namely by resigning either or both in the summer of 2008, may prove to be an important miscue when one considers the importance of young capable talent in today’s NBA. It is important to remember that an absence of talented trade assets is a situation experienced by the Knicks in it’s recent past under the Scott Layden Regime[2] and addressed, in part, by the succeeding Isiah Thomas Regime. Although Thomas’ efforts to cycle limited and undesirable players for questionable young talent via trades that stripped the Knicks of draft prospects in 2007 and 2010 failed, Thomas’ drafting acumen did yield the Franchise several popular and capable talents in the trio of Lee, Robinson and Chandler. Back to the point. Young capable talent, when acquired at a relatively reasonable cost, are important assets in the league because they may be used as resources that facilitate sound trades to acquire talent in return. By sound I mean not the lopsided variety entered into by Isiah Thomas in his wayward trade efforts to revitalize the barren talent cupboard left to him by Scott Layden.

A valid question then is Could David Lee and or Nate Robinson have been resigned in the summer of 2008 when their value, prior to heavy minutes in the “[ ]”Antoni system, was still low and conjectural[3] instead of inflated and debatable? [4] The resigning of Lee and possibly Nate when their value was conjectural rather than debatable would have allowed the franchise to have either or both available and as preserved trade assets. Perhaps a contract offers at a more reasonable price scale with increases prior to 2010 and a decrease in salary for 2010 coupled with a team option in the 3rd year and a player option in the 4th year would have preserved the Franchise’s option to exercise a trade of either one or both Lee or Robinson without the required permission that must accompany one year contracts of players acquiring Larry Bird or Early Bird Rights.[5] Such an arrangement could also have allowed all parties better options long term to test and use value as new outside free agent streams opened up in succeeding years beyond 2010. It should not be forgotten that much discussion of both David Lee and Nate Robinson has continued to be inextricably tied to possible cap reducing moves for the summer of 2010 and in particular as trade inducements to help facilitate trades with current Knicks’ undesirables Eddy Curry and Jared Jefferies. Additionally the retention of Lee and Robinson would have given the Franchise additional trade assets for the purposes of acquiring outside talent in return, since very few upper tier talents just leave their franchises without that franchise obtaining something in return, should the 2010 pool have dried up or not flowed as expected. Lastly despite the many articles written in the NY Press regarding Robinson’s supposed immaturity and Lee’s player limitations both have shown the professionalism lacking from franchise Albatrosses Eddy Curry and Stephon Marbury. Namely, both Lee and Robinson have consistently shown improvement to their overall games by addressing voids in therein. Moreover, Robinson’s relentless offensive abandon for a player his size and Lee’s willingness to play out of position on defense, contribute to making both players far less gambles had they been resigned in the summer of 2008 than either Curry or Marbury were due to both players histories with their prior teams. With all that said did Walsh’s failure to secure Lee and Nate in the summer of 2008 signal the squandering of a Lovelee hand potentially turned Deadlee should Nate and Lee exit the franchise for nothing in return?

II. Penny Wise Pound Foolish? A buck stopped but not here as common sense yields to timid purse strings

As the summer of 2009 developed, it became increasingly clear to the Knicks and many amongst their fan base that the current solution at point guard was insufficient. The organization indicated as such through their pursuit of various point guards available in the 2009 summer free agent market- e.g., Jason Kidd, Andre Miller, Ramon Sessions-and the drafting of rookie point guard Toney Douglass. As Jason Kidd, thankfully, decided to spurn the Knicks and Andre Miller secured a deal with the Trailblazers, Ramon Sessions reportedly remained the main point guard in the Knicks cross hairs. As articulated by Tommy Beer of Hoopsworld, Ramon Sessions presented the Knicks a point guard prospects with a good combination of height, strength and upside.[6] Also as Beer points out, while not fully seasoned, Ramon Sessions’ two year stint in the NBA with the Bucks clearly demonstrated the young pure point guard’s upside- e.g., Sessions 15.1 PPG, 7.6 assists, 4.2 boards, and 1.3 steals per game average as a starter in 37 games for the Bucks. Additionally Ramon Sessions per 36 minutes per game production, in the half court oriented Bucks offense, in terms of assist and scoring exceeded[7] that of Chris Duhon’s whose production benefited from exposure to the “[ ]”Antoni up tempo style of play. [8]

As the summer sailed along numerous reports emerged of Walsh’s mythical patience at play, craftily waiting out Sessions. During the summer of 2009 the Bucks organization made offseason moves that pointed to their lukewarm interest in matching offers made to Sessions above the qualifying minimum. As the New York Sports Daily’s continued their boisterous speculation that the Master Turtle, like an apex predator was awaiting the perfect time to pounce over the free agent point guard, Sessions services were snatched up by Walsh protégé, David Kahn, who signed the RFA to a contract offer totaling 16 million dollars over four years, which the Bucks failed to match.[9] The moment which many NY Sports reporters, and fan boys, so brazenly claimed was Walsh’ for the taking in which Walsh supposedly had the up an coming and relatively inexpensive point guard where Walsh wanted him, became just more hot air.  Because Sessions was secured to manageable contract, which the Knicks easily could have exceeded, Sessions’ services and possible value increase while in the “[ ]”’Antoni  offense was squandered. For a team, such as the Knicks seeking a point guard capable of better directing the “[ ]”’Antoni offense, and with a skeleton crew possibly entering into the summer of 2010, the failure to sign an affordable and talented player with a combination of physical tools and potential to address an important aspect of the team’s offensive scheme may just result to be another Penny Wise Pound Foolish Move on the part of the 2010 Cap Space Cult.

III. Lost in a mess of Seven Seconds or Less and the 2010 Cap Space Cult Tunnel Vision: the unheeded overtures of Defense wins Championships and No Rebounds no Rings

As opportunities are lost and assets possibly squandered in the dream world tunnel vision that is the 2010 Plan, often neglected are the possible limitations with the Knicks’ current style of play. As previously noted the acquisition of Mike “[ ]”Antoni at the coaching helm is a move that was a significant improvement in many ways from the former listless coaching tenure of the Isaiah Thomas era. However, if the ultimate goal for the franchise is to eventually contend for and win an NBA Championship, then the current style of play, with its nonchalant approach to the defensive side of the ball, and apparent failure to bolster coaching on that end, may well prevent the franchise from its stated objective. During the 2008-09 season the Knicks were ranked 28th out of 30 teams in scoring defense, yielding 107.8 points per game, and 28th out of 30 teams in field goal percentage defense, allowing opponents to connect on 47.98% of their shot attempts.[10] Certainly the absence of a presence in the middle of the paint to anchor the defense would help but the problems affecting the Knicks defense may be as much philosophical as they are a reflection of the franchise’s absence of an interior presence. The current approach towards the defense is exemplified in  “[ ]”Antoni’s simplistic player personnel preference approach to bolstering the team’s defense to the current exclusion of any wholesale improvement in the team’s overall coaching approach on that end, which would require either a greater attention to coordinating and orchestrating that side of the ball or acquiring an assistant capable of effectively directing defense. For instance, although “[ ]”Antoni may be credited with favoring players prepackaged with a defensive mindset, “[ ]”Antoni’s failure to properly direct or acquire such a director on that end indicates a general  unwillingness to craft an orchestra on defense for the grand stage. During the course of the 2008-09 season opportunities existed to enlist the services of Mark I’avaroni, Bill Lambieer and even former Knicks defensive standout Charles Oakley but no move was made by the organization to acquire either named coach or personnel.  Ultimately, could it be that the simple valuation and acquisition of individual defenders without acquiring defensive oriented coaching to improve and provide cohesiveness and structure on that end, hints at a neglect of the defensive side of the ball[11] that rivals, former Eagles coach Buddy Ryan’s self destructive spurning of his offensive players during his tenure with the formidable NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles teams.

In addition to the concern with the teams defense, less mentioned is the Knicks shortcomings in the area of rebounding. Although the Knicks were ranked 8th in total rebounds per game the Knicks ranked 26 out of 30 teams in rebounding differential giving up 4 rebounds more per game 46.1 than secured 42.1. Lee in 2008-09 Season ranked third in the league in rebounding pulling down 11.7 rebounds per game. With David Lee’s possible exit in the summer of 2010, in order for the 2010 Caps Space Cult to carve out further Cap Space[12] for Le Saviour, the remnant Knicks roster may well end up without any proven rebounder approaching Lee’s ability. That scenario could likely lessen the scraps of talent on the Knicks roster when the Franchise invites the King or their next “Saviour” onto the Garden.

All Eggs in a Basket with some large holes in it, … or …

Going to a shoot out with plenty of ammo but not enough men?

While much of the talk about King James emphasizes his aspirations as a mogul and not just icon, often lost in that conversation is King James’ serious aversion to losing and desire to reach the leagues pinnacle by winning a championship. The most instrumental example of the Kings’ unwillingness to readily accept defeat was on display during his recent playoff appearance against the more balanced Dwight Howard led Orlando Magic team, when King James refused to shake Hands with the victorious Magic team that had eliminated the Kings Cavaliers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. With that as the backdrop is it possible then that King James would so readily bolt an average team on an organization that has attempted to improve the product on the Kings behalf for a possibly gutted Knicks team that could be without its best rebounder, a scorer off the bench, and direction at the point. Would James, leave a team ranked near in the top five to ten in most defensive categories[13] for a team that ranks near the bottom in those same categories. Also consider that the 2010 market is not simply the Knicks play pen that the local press paints it out to be as there will be other potential buyer’s, many of which may possess either a combination of comparable cap room or a fuller set of complimentary talent or both. [14] With the possible holes in the Knicks roster that may result from the Franchise’s effort to maximize every bit of cap space for LeSaviour, why would James, or any upper tier free agent for that matter, merely go for only a bigger salary if the supporting cast offered by other teams may generally be better constituted than the remnant supporting cast the Knicks stroll out in 2010?  Lest everyone forget that Superstars generally need sidekicks and a capable team around them in all aspects of the game.

Lebron1

Lebron2

The Stakes at Play

As stated earlier a tide has turned for the Knicks Franchise as they have shifted from overpaying for players whose production would not yield results towards an end game of entering into and succeeding in post-season play to an agenda of obtaining cap space flexibility to secure star caliber talent in the upcoming free agent wave. But no matter how lovely the plan might appear it is nonetheless a gamble and yet another variation on a creature that has been fostered by New York’s win now mandate- 2010 will be only two full regular seasons and three summers removed from the end of Isiah Thomas’ regime. With a team that may well lose two of it’s own key free agents and has passed on acquiring talent that could address a key component of the offense, not to mention the important task of improving the team’s play on the defensive end, the stakes at play in this gamble might leave the franchise without their long sought out Savior and possibly with another empty cupboard. Should the Knicks not “Hang Ten” and rather wipe out on the wave of 2010 free agency, it will be the fan base who will finally have to come to terms with the Tsunami of heightened expectations fed to them by the local sports media.

Surf's Uptsunami

UpsideDownMMP_800x692

U2’s Staring at the Sun

Waves that leave me out of reach
Breaking on your back like a beach
Will we ever live in peace?

‘Cause those that can’t do
Often have to
And those that can’t do
Often have to preach

To the ones
Staring at the sun
Afraid of what you’d find
If you took a look inside
Not just deaf and dumb
[you’re] staring at the sun
[you’re] not the only one
Who’d rather go blind


[1] David Lee’s deal is reportedly worth 7 million dollars in 2009-10 season with incentive clauses that could increase the value of the contract to 8 million. http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=ys-leeknicks092409&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

The increase in David Lee’s contract to a maximum of 8 million would occur only if the Knicks make the playoffs in the 2009-10 season.  Nate Robinson is reported to have signed a one-year deal worth more than the 2.9 million qualifying offer the Knicks are required to extend to Robinson by league rules.

http://www.newsday.com/sports/david-lee-re-signs-with-knicks-1.1471520

[2] For a thorough discussion of the Knicks’ dearth of talent under the Scott Layden regime and the Herculean efforts of Isiah Thomas to revive the Franchises’ talent base, See http://www.cosellout.com/?p=128

[3] An article suggested that the 2008 offseason negotiations to resign Lee would have had to have started at about 6 million per season at minimum. See New York Post article “’Shaky’ Deal: Lee Status with Knicks Up in Air: by Marc Berman (last updated 7/14/08 at 6:46am)

http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/knicks/shaky_deal_U1LbMN5E8MR9IkRPsPgBvO

[4] David Lee’s production per 36 minutes per game in “[ ]”Antoni system of play increased Lee’s scoring average by 4.07 points per game from 12.43 PPG to 16.5 PPG, his rebounding average per 36 minutes per game increased by .5 per game from 11.1 RPG to 11.6 RPG.

Nate Robinson’s statistical production in terms of points per 36 minutes also improved by about  4 point per, from 16.733 PPG to 20.7 PPG, while in the “[ ]”Antoni system of play. Robinson’s assist per game per 36 minutes increased by 1.6 per game, from 3.3 APG to 4.9 APG with his turnover remaining steady 2.2 TOV to 2.3 TOV with “[ ]”antoni.

See Player Statistical Reference at Basketball Reference.Com

http://www.basketball-reference.com/

[5] See Coon, Larry (2005); “NBA Salary Cap/Collective Bargaining Agreement FAQ”

http://members.cox.net/lmcoon/salarycap.htm, last visited September 28, 2009

In particular read answer to question80. When can a team trade a free agent it signs? Do they have to keep him forever?

[6] See Tommy Beer’s Hoopsworld.com Article entitled “Knicks: Sessions Makes Sense in New York!” (last updated 8/4/09 at 9:04am ET)

http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=13500&print=yes

[7] Ramon Sessions per 36 minutes per game scoring and assist average is 15.3 points per game and 7.9 assist per game.

[8] Chris Duhon’s per 36 minute per game scoring and assist average during the 2008-09 NBA season with the New York Knicks is 7.0 assist per game with 10.9 points per game. That figure represented a .725 assist per game increase from Duhon’s 4 year career assist total of 6.275 with the Bulls and a 1.225 point per game increase from Duhon’s 9.675 points per game average while with the Bulls.

[9] Associated Press “Sessions to fill Rubio’s Shoes in Minnesota,” Krawzcynski, John, September 15, 2009. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5g1I0RUcT7zvlTBR0Id4REm7h2FfgD9AO2HPO0

[10] http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/statistics?stat=tmcompare&season=2009&seasontype=2&league=nba

[11] To D’antoni’s credit he recently recognized that he did not properly emphasize defense during the 2008-09 NBA Season. D’antoni has set a goal to have the Knicks in the top half in defense for the upcoming 2009-10 Season. Via Twitter (Marc Berman, New York Post), September 29, 2009.

[12] Note that unless a Team renounces their rights to a player, that player’s salary is counted against the team’s payroll at a percentage relative to the particular type of free agent that that player represents.

Since, David Lee negotiated a contract with the Knicks above the Qualifying Minimum of his Rookie Scale Contract he will become a Free Agent in 2010 not on a Rookie Scale Contract, which would place his cap hold at 150% of his current salary, 7 million annually, or a 10.5 million cap hold on the Knicks 2010 Salary Cap. The Knicks could clear that cap hold by renouncing David Lee’s rights. However, once renounced in that particular situation the Knicks cannot undo that renouncement even if they wipeout against the 2010 Free Agent Wave. See Questions 14, 29, 30, and 32-34 in Coon, Larry (2005); “NBA Salary Cap/Collective Bargaining Agreement FAQ”.

[13] Cleveland Ranked first in scoring defense limiting their opponents to 91.4 points per game. They ranked 2nd in defensive field goal percentage limiting their opponents to 43.0% shooting. Cavaliers ranked 7th in shot blocking averaging 5.3 blocks for contest. The Cavs also ranked 3rd in rebounding differential outrebounding their opponents by 3.3. rebounds per game. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/statistics?stat=teamstatreb&season=2009&seasontype=2

[14] Assume Salary Cap in 2010 = 57,000,000.00

** Indicates key player in team’s possession

The list below points to teams who will likely have significant cap space in order to be players in the 2010 free agent market. The cap space estimates are rough estimates and do not take into account the cap space hold rules noted above in footnote 12 or other rules applicable to determining Salary Cap Space that can be found in questions 14, 19, 20 and 35 of Larry Coons Salary Cap FAQ

Information regarding team salary commitment scenarios and salary cap space alternatives in 2010 extracted from tables found at Hoopshype Team Salaries and Payroll page found at http://hoopshype.com/salaries.htm

Cavs in 2010

(Cap space in 2010 not considering cap hold figures)

– $25,346,007 when James test free agency

– $8,196,764.00 should James not opt out- not likely

(Notable Players, possibly, still on Roster:)

– A. Varejao, M.”Williams, D. West, D. Gibson, J. Moon.

(Key Expiring Contracts or Players possibly electing to exercise Player Options)

– **L. James, S. O’Neal

Knicks in 2010

(Cap space in 2010 not considering cap hold figures)

– $35,099,217.00

– $29,664,176.00 retaining both W. Chandler and D. Gallinari

(Notable Players, possibly, still on Roster)

– Wilson Chandler, Danillo Gallinari, Jordan Hill, Toney Douglas, Eddy Curry, Jared Jefferies.

(Key Expiring Contracts or Players possibly electing to exercise Player Options)

– D. Lee, N. Robinson

Rockets in 2010

(Cap space in 2010 not considering cap hold figures)

– $17,339,518.00 assuming Aaron Brooks retained by Rockets

(Notable Players, possibly,  still on Roster)

– Yao Ming, Shane Battier, Trevor Ariza, Aaron Brooks.

(Key Expiring Contracts or Players possibly electing to exercise Player Options)

T. McGrady, L. Scola, Y. Ming

Heat in 2010

(Cap space in 2010 not considering cap hold figures)

– $51,190,760.00 D. Wade Opts out and team options exercised retaining M. Beasley and M. Chalmers

– $34,041,517.00 should D. Wade not opt out (not likely) and the Heat retain M. Beasley and M. Chalmers

(Notable Players, possibly,  still on Roster)

– M. Chalmers, M. Beasley.

(Key Expiring Contracts or Players possibly electing to exercise Player Options)

– **Dwayne Wade, U. Haslem

Bulls in 2010

(Cap space in 2010 not considering cap hold figures)

– $19,330,174.00 in cap space with only J. Noah and D. Rose retained.

– $13,073,368.00 in cap space for 2010- assume J. Noah, D. Rose and T. Thomas retained by Bulls

(Notable Players, possibly,  still on Roster)

– L. Deng, K. Hinrich, J. Salmons, D. Rose, T. Thomas, J. Noah

Kings in 2010

(Cap space in 2010 not considering cap hold figures)

– $21,759,595.00  no team option exercised and no qualifying offer tendered

– $18,953,707.00 if S. Rodriguez retained with qualifying offer

(Notable Players, possibly,  still on Roster)

– K. Martin, A. Nocioni, B. Udrih, F. Garcia, T. Evans

Clippers in 2010

(Cap space in 2010 not considering cap hold figures)

– $17,907,455.00 assuming E. Gordon and A. Thorton are retained by Clippers.

(Notable Players, possibly,  still on Roster)

– B. Davis, C. Kaman, B. Griffin, E. Gordon, A. Thorton

Nets in 2010

(Cap space in 2010 not considering cap hold figures)

– $39,176,520.00 not retaining RFO and not exercising team options to retain named players

– $25,010,456.00 in cap space retaining RFO with QO and exercising team options on named players

(Notable Players, possibly,  still on Roster)

– D. Harris, B. Lopez, Y. Jianlian, J. Boone, S. Williams, C. Lee, C.Douglas-Roberts

Blazers in 2010

(Cap space in 2010 not considering cap hold figures)

– $18,365,374.00 Blazers extend QO to L. Aldridge and exercise team options retaining G. Oden, J. Bayless, R. Fernandez and N. Batum

– Blazers will likely resign Brandon Roy effectively limiting their participation in the 2010 market.

(Key Expiring Contracts or Players possibly electing to exercise Player Options)

** B. Roy, T. Outlaw, S. Blake

Hawks in 2010

(Cap space in 2010 not considering cap hold figures)

– $25,896,303.00 in cap space with A. Horford Retained

(Notable Players, possibly,  still on Roster)

– J. Smith, J. Crawford, A. Horford

(Key Expiring Contracts or Players possibly electing to exercise Player Options)

– **J. Johnson

Thunder in 2010

(Cap space in 2010 not considering cap hold figures)

– $26,730,214.00 in cap space with K Durant and W. Wesbrook retained.

(Notable Players, possibly, still on Roster)

– K. Durant, R. Westbrook.

Suns in 2010

(Cap space in 2010 not considering cap hold figures)

– $26,180,796.00 A. Stoudemire exercises Player Option

– $24,313,476.00 A. Stoudemire Opts out and Suns Retian R. Lopez

(Notable Players, possibly,  still on Roster)

– J. Richardson, S. Nash, L. Barbosa, R. Lopez.

(Key Expiring Contracts or Players possibly electing to exercise Player Options)

– **A. Stoudemire,

Grizzlies in 2010

(Cap space in 2010 not considering cap hold figures)

– $20,196,987.00 Team options not exercised on OJ Mayo, M. Conley nor extend QO to R. Gay.

– $6,404,998.00 Grizzlies exercise team options on OJ Mayo, M. Conley and extend QO to R. Gay

(Notable Players, possibly,  still on Roster)

– M. Gasol, H. Thabeet, Z. Randolph, OJ Mayo, R. Gay, M. Conley

TWolves in 2010

(Cap space in 2010 not considering cap hold figures)

– $35,494,200.00 no team options exercise – really about $31,494,200.00 b/c of Contract with R. Sessions

– $28,152,448.00 team options exercise on K. Love and C. Brewer – really $24, 152,448.00 same as above.

(Notable Players, possibly,  still on Roster)

– A. Jefferson, R. Gomes, K. Love, J. Flynn,

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October 2, 2009 Posted by | David Lee, Donnie Walsh, Isiah Thomas, Mike D'Antoni, Nate Robinson, NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement, NBA Draft, New York Knicks, Scott Layden, Training Camp, Uncategorized | 9 Comments

Knicks Revivalism (Part I the 2010 Plan Holy Trinity)

[In keeping with Knicks’ spirit week resident blogger Orange and Blue offers his take on the divine nature of fandom and offers a positive take on the first year’s work of the new regime. Stay tuned for Part Two in which O&B questions the trajectory and moves, or lack thereof, of the new regimes. So join in and get ready to receive and  in Part 2 question the Spirit,… the Holy Spirit and Sacred Trinity of Knicks Sports Fandom!]

Fandom as Religion and Knicks Fans Messianic Dreams

Fandom is a quasi religious phenomena because of what it often entails- e.g., adoration, faith and loyalty, and zealous commitment throughout the team’s rising and waning fortunes. Examples of the quasi religious nature of fandom in general can be found in the shrines that adorn many a fanatics home, the idolization (and demonization) of players and personalities linked/associated with the team’s fortunes, and the shared and general belief amongst fans that their team, (despite their objective plight), will defy odds in any particular game, season or undertaking to carry the fanbase to the miraculous and euphoric. In the electronic age the religious experience of fandom has blossomed into different denominations as a result of the proliferation of team oriented weblogs-both corporate or private, sponsored or independent.

For the legions of Knick fans, fandom has not been an easy endeavor. With the Franchise’s last championship occurring over 35 years ago and the last championship run occurring during the 1998-99 season, the term “long suffering” has become an ever more apropos term for a fanbase whose arid plight can be likened to the Israelites march through the desert.  In the doldrums of a long championship drought, Knick fans, (and the organization as well), have searched for and sought out a Savior to lead the franchise to a championship resurrection. From the mid 1980s through the end of the century the drafting of center Patrick Ewing was supposed to usher in a return to glory but the teams at Ewing’s disposal at best came within a game of that much hoped upon return. The turn of the century then saw the Franchise pin it’s hopes, (and extend or acquire disproportionate contract offers), on the deteriorating Knees of Shooting Guard Allan Houston, and later upon the questionable character of Point Guard Stephon Marbury. Also, throughout the 1980’s into and through the turn of the century the Names of Knick adversaries such as Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant also figured prominently in conversations about a potential Knick messiah.

“The Knicks Holy Trinity” and Revivalist Mythology for Popular Consumption

Lebron-Hahn-Walsh1

I. A Franchise’s Downward Spiral

As 1973 slips into the distant memory, the sole decade of championship contention during the 1990s appears ever more like an oasis in a vast wasteland of organizational ineptitude. But for many Knicks’ fans the recent decade at the turn of the century came to represent the worst era of franchise futility- or at least the most dubiously publicized period. For instance, personnel decisions made during the first decade of the turn of the century, (a veritable what not to do for the potential Arm Chair GM), mired the organization in bad contracts and coaching and managerial instability, which at best ended in buyouts and settlement agreements but at worst tarnished the organizations public image under the glaring ravenous lens of the local sports media hawks.

II. A Revival

But just as the Franchise approached an apparent nadir, and Knick fandom was on the verge of losing its religion, a new vision of redemption emerged onto the spotlight of Broadway for the popular consumption and sedation of legions of fans. The new vision of the franchise’s championship resurrection easily became monumental orthodoxy cast in the form of an unassailable holy trinity. That holy trinity has come to encompass the persons, personalities and essences of Donnie Walsh, Lebron James and Newsday’s sports blog coverage of the Knicks.  This holy trinity captures the spirit of the times and marks a turning of the tide against the organizational failings and imbalances since the turn of the century.

In the Knicks holy trininty, “[ ]”onnie Walsh represents the Father Figure.  Cast as a wise and timeless figure, sort of like the creator gods of many religions, it is “[ ]” onnie Walsh who is assigned the task of recreating the Knicks into a Championship contender.  According to popular belief, “[ ]”onnie Walsh’s mythic creational/transformational powers come from a vast well of experience that imbues his managerial decisions with an other worldly patience necessary to carry out a master plan for the franchises resurrection.

Walsh Ressurection

If “[ ]”onnie Walsh is the Father of the Trinity, then Lebron James is the incarnate personification of the long desired franchise savior. As basketball’s king on earth, King James, is considered the chosen one, the one who will carry Knicks fandom to the promised land of an NBA Championship that has alluded the Franchise for over 35 years.  King James has to date certainly matched and or exceeded the hype that surrounded his entrance into the NBA, by displaying the legendary greatness attributed to him, during dramatic playoff performances against the Pistons and Magic, and by carrying an average Cavaliers’ team to the top seeding in the 2008-09 NBA Playoffs.

King Lebronclip_image006

But what would the Knicks resurrection and the return of its rumored savior be if the Zeitgeist of the ever-drawing moment did not find itself in the hearts and minds of Knicks fans. To that end a trinity is nothing without it’s Holy Spirit, which is inblognated in the Cablevision bought and owned, Newsday Sports Coverage of the New York Knicks.  Newsday’s coverage of the unfolding “resurrection” is spearheaded by the highly popular reporter/blogger Alan Hahn.   Hahn’s abilities as a prolific blogger, coupled with his careful consideration to his fan base of bloggers and overall affable personality has helped Newsday’s blog the Knicks Fix become one of the more important sources for disseminating the message, spirit and belief in the inevitable return of a Knicks’ Messiah and coming of a 2010 Championship resurrection.

Alan Hahn

III. The Trilogy and “The Plan” in 2010 as a Turning of the Tide

Collectively the trinity represents a shifting of the tide for the Franchise against mistakes of prior Knick regimes at the turn of the century. For instance the hiring of “[ ]”onnie Walsh, as the Head of Basketball Operations, signaled the end of a free wheeling era that reached it’s Zenith under Isiah Thomas.  That era can be said to be marked by numerous gambles in terms of acquiring talented yet highly priced players, either: 1) who were high risk due to character issues; 2) whose statistical production did not significantly improve the organization’s opportunities to engage in and succeed in post season play; 3) whose presence resulted in roster redundancies that negated the player’s value and cut into the development of younger players. Moreover the acquisitions of several of the highly priced yet non-impact talent on the Knicks rosters came at the high cost of lost future draft picks, that were traded away in the hopes that the talent acquired would flourish under Zeke’s management and influence, where they previously had faltered or exhausted their welcomes with their prior teams. To Walsh’s credit the greater part of his first full year as Head of Basketball Operations witnessed the jettisoning of high salary, yet low value per production players such as Zach Randolph and Jamal Crawford. Walsh’s first year also witnessed the jettisoning of Knicks’ team Mascot Jerome James and the eventual dismissal of Brooklyn legend turned pariah, Stephon Marbury.

The shifting of the tide away from talented yet risky players and generally low value per production players, to an objective of targeting proven Star free agents suggested the organization had quite possibly learned certain lessons prominent in the management war rooms of the teams that had dumped their undesirables onto the Knicks roster.   To that extent the fascination with acquiring a player of Lebron James’ caliber in 2010, a/k/a “The Plan”, signals not merely a fan boy fantasy but also a partial revelation of what it might take to resurrect a moribund NBA Franchise. Thus for the Knicks Franchise a proverbial veritable lightbulb is finally turned on to illuminate the organization’s trajectory to a vision of acquiring a talent/saviour that many expect will lead the Knicks to a light at the end of the tunnel.

The Plan

Additionally, Walsh’s acquisition of Head Coach Mike “[ ]” Antoni, infused an upbeat atmosphere into the downtrodden lockeroom, while providing the players discipline and direction (on at least one side of the coaching equation). “[ ]”Antoni’s presence also signaled to the team that playing time, (with the exception of Stephon Marbury’s quarantine),  was not a given but would be earned by performance on the court and in practice. The Wally Pip Rule alluded to by Isiah Thomas, the formerly conflicted head coach and president of basketball operations, became a reality with the franchise under a separate head coach and Management. Notably, the Knicks in “[ ]”Antoni’s, first year at the helm had better balance on the line up between offensive and defensive players and youthful and veteran players on the court- e.g., the willing to utilize defensive reserve Jared Jefferies more frequently and to utilize him on opposing team’s point guards, the insertion of talented sophomore Wilson Chandler into the team’s regular rotation, the insertion of fan favorite David Lee into the starting line up.

As the franchise was steered towards an improved trajectory, Franchise ownership also directed their efforts to better controlling/combating the negative coverage of the Franchise by the local sports media outlets.  The Change in the Franchises media policy, from an iron curtain preventing reporter access to a more open approach signaling a détente with sports reporting entities was one step taken to change the Franchises image in the eyes of the local sports journals. The greater move however, involved the purchase of Newsday by Cablevision, which also owns the Knicks- and according to some even Alan Hahn. In a war for the hearts and minds of Knicks’ fans the purchase of Newsday represented the acquisition of a veritable Tokyo Rose/Axis Sally megaphone casting pro Knicks spin via Alan Hahn’s sports coverage of the Knicks as both reporter and blogger. The change in the Knicks media policy when coupled with the partisan voice cast in the Franchise’s favor by Newsday has quickly influenced other corporate Knicks’ fan blogs, which similarly disseminate the inevitability and certainty of the Knick’s Messiah’s return in 2010- see SNY’s Knicks Blog.

Tattoo

Aint “THE PLAN” Lovely?…

September 25, 2009 Posted by | 1973 Championship, David Lee, Donnie Walsh, Isiah Thomas, Jamal Crawford, James Dolan, Jared Jeffries, Lebron James., Michael Jordan, Mike D'Antoni, NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement, New York Knicks, Newsday, Patrick Ewing, Scott Layden, Stephon Marbury, Trevor Ariza, Uncategorized, Zach Randolph | , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

RIP Van Donnie Tourtoise’s 2010 Tunnel Vision Conundrum!

(This offering was originally posted as comment #26 in the “David Lee Is Not Happy With The Knicks” tread.  Let’s give a Fanatic welcome to O&B’s first non-LBE penthouse offering in the new diggs. (About time!))

RIP VAN DONNIE

RIP VAN DONNIE

The Knicks under Isiah turned over a terrible roster inherited from the layden years. Thomas then used the draft and trades to bring in other young talent with upside and WARTS!

The WARTS on the players acquired to be the teams leader on the court, Starbury, and franchise big man, Eddy “The Giant Midget” Curry where acquisitions of experienced players to help steady a team built primarily through the draft. Add to that group s one dimensional player overvalued at the MLE, Jared Jefferies, and overpaid one way palyers, Z-Bo and Crawford, in an era before the importance of money ball and a tightening cap started to become a GMs reality and reasoning and the Knicks young core were set up for a let down of a mismatched roster with a disjointed leadership and structure.

I think Walsh this time around intended well by acquiring either Jason Kidd or Grant Hill, he perhaps concluded that the young nucleus inherited by Zeke and recently acquired during his tenure required players whose pedigree and approach to the game would provide the necessary leadership required for a currently wayward roster to build forward towards the future. Giving Walsh credit, that was a way better idea than acquiring malcontents, percieved or real, whose impact on the team failed to pull them from a decades long morass of underachievement, despite those very malcontented players very promising upside.

That said, acquiring players near the tail end of the career, while solid in spirit, is a short term move whose long term application may not be present when the Knicks really need those players talents and efforts to take the next necessary steps in what many a Knicks fan hopes will be a playoff run of some signifigance. Walsh perhaps was hoping that the signing of either Hill or Kidd would help construct the bridge of professionalism and pedigree that would bridge a complete overhaul in culture leading into the oft mentioned Shangrila summer of 2010.

But again the question would be at what price?… Fading vets who might not have anything left in the tank when the Alpha Dog Free agent needs his teamates to step up? Sure many of the younger players may have the professionalism and work ethic and habit of a HIll or Kidd rub off on them,.. but the playoff wars requires “all hands on deck” and fading players are like a glass jaw on a prize fighter,… ones to be exploited by capable teams with good coaching who are capable of exploiting matchups.

In the meantime,… players like Sessions who are cost effective considering their age and production, assuming acceptance of a reasonable price tag along an MLE offer, are given the importance of a tick on the Knicks radar list. What’s worse the one of the most professional and hardest working of the teams own products, David Lee, is an afterthought to veterans soon to be entering the nadir of their careers.

The question begs to be answered do Dolan and Donnie not trust their current sideline care takers to incrementally increase the needed professionalism, dedication and work ethic needed to steer the team in an appealing and more competitive direction for the oncoming of the 2010 bonanza? Would not retaining David Lee and acquiring Sessions to head the team and provide it leadership while they would still be very much in their primes when paired with a 2010 free agent, Nilo and Chandler not be as plausible a route as having their overpriced vets fade in the intensity of the playoffs?

No doubt, the economic situation has put a damper on 2010, and their appears now more than ever a desperation to pinch every penny and attempt to expedite every albatross. But while expediting every albatross contract, Curry, Jefferies (b/c their price per production is not favorable to the Knicks), is the right way to go, jettisoning home grown talent or failing to acquire young talent on the come for fear of not being able to afford a robin to Free Agent A’s batman is gamble that insist that A and B can and will certainly be signed come 2010. Does anyone have that kind of certified foresight? I think not?

Then again why not get one piece of the puzzle in 2010, sure up the base this year, (Lee and Sessions), and then see if their are any players in 2011 who can be the Robin or the Batman to compliment the player acquired in 2010? That way other teams can’t lord over the organizations desperation to expedite Jefferies’ or Curry’s contracts. Better said that however, Curry’s or Jefferies contracts expire it will be handled in a manner that the organization does not cut off it’s nose to spite it’s face to present an overbitten smile for one mere fateful date but rather has flexibility in it’s plans for the future.

July 30, 2009 Posted by | David Lee, Donnie Walsh, Eddie Curry, Isiah Thomas, Jamal Crawford, Jared Jeffries, New York Knicks, Stephon Marbury | 61 Comments

Knicks v. Kings [2009 Summer League Live Blogg (@ 6:00pm on 07.17.09)]

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July 17, 2009 Posted by | Jordan Hill, Morris Almond, NBA Summer League, New York Knicks, Omri Casspi, Tyreke Evans | , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

2009 NBA Draft (KnicksFanatics Live Blogging Event 06/25/2009 @ 7:15pm)

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June 25, 2009 Posted by | Eric Maynor, Gerald Henderson, Jonny Flynn, Live Blogging Event, NBA Draft, NBA Lottery, New York Knicks, Rick Rubio, Ty Lawson | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

LIVE BLOGGING EVENT: LA Lakers v. Orlando Magic: NBA Finals Game II at 8pm

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Lakers v. Magic: 2009 NBA Finals

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June 4, 2009 Posted by | 2009 Finals, Live Blogging Event | , , , | 4 Comments