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Knicks Links 10/12/09

 

For a little mainstream media insight on the Knicks, you may want to read the LBE discussion with Mike Kurylo (KnickerBlogger.Net/True Hoop Network) and Chis Sheridan of ESPN. There was nothing earth shattering stated in the discussion, but I had to laugh at the opening by Chris Sheridan:

Good afternoon, Knicks fans, and it is a good afternoon because y’all are one day closer to the end of this miserable decade.

Perhaps the most interesting thing Sheridan said was that the Knicks were going after LeBron and Bosh and that they were competing against Miami for the assets.

I see them trying to get LeBron and Bosh, one through a sign-and-trade and the other in a straight up signing. That would be the expanded Plan A. I think Miami has sights on making a play for both those [g]uys too, maybe Boozer instead of Bosh if he stays in Toronto, and   [p]utting both of them alongside Beasley, Wade and Chalmers. a pipe dream, maybe, cuz they’d have to accept less than the max, but the Heat think they have a puncher’s shot at pulling it off.

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According to Marc Berman, “Darko Milicic would not return Mike D’Antoni‘s calls all summer. Milicic and D’Antoni did not speak until the 7-foot-2 center arrived in New York two days before the start of training camp.” 

Despite the belief that Milicic has strengthened the Knicks defensively, what he has done thus far is not very impressive.  He lacks consistency in terms of defensive effort.  D’Antoni thinks that Milici is simply not ready to play at his speed yet. "He’ll get his shot down when he gets comfortable," D’Antoni said. "He’s only been playing this style for two weeks. He knows how to play. That’s a key. We’ve sped the game for him. Everything’s going 100 miles an hour for him."

In Berman’s Milicic story, he also noted that D’Antoni said the Knicks did not miss Quentin Richardson’s leadership.

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The Knicks are selling Duhon and Lee as the Pick and Roll Dynamic Duo. In addition, check out their twitter on the second sidebar:

You’re Invited – Knicks Open Practice! This Saturday, Oct. 17 @ The Rose Hill Gym @ Fordham Univ. Admission is free. Doors open @ 11:15. 2 hours ago

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Jared Jeffries is going to be in the starting line-up instead of Danilo Galinari.  Chris Duhon, Wilson Chandler, Al Harrington and David Lee will also be in the starting unit. D’Antoni thinks Gallo is just in a minor funk.

Barbara Barker, of Newsday which is owned by Cablevision which owns the Knicks, stated that “Last year’s Knicks team was fun to watch, except when they were attempting to play defense.” 

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October 12, 2009 Posted by | Chris Duhon, Danilo Gallinari, Darko Milicic, David Lee, Jared Jeffries | , , , , | 3 Comments

Training Camp Round-Up

Good morning folks. This afternoon is the last training camp session and tomorrow is the beginning of pre-season with the Knicks’ first game against the Wanna Be Brooklyn Nets in Albany. (Talk about your geographic confusion). There have been plenty of eyes, some behind amateur but useful video-camera shots, in Saratoga watching the Knicks try to come together as a T.E.A.M. (Together Everyone Achieves More) to borrow a oft used acronym from Mr. Cooleyhigh.  Perhaps the best way to sum it all up is “the Knicks are a work in process.”

Of course the process is the “How Do We Get To 2010 Without Looking Like Absolute Fools Process”  and that is a difficult assignment which Donnie Walsh has handed off to Mike D’Antoni this preseason.  D’Antoni has taken the task with the same positive energy he usually brings to the job, but we perceive that Mike has changed a little bit – he is no longer verbally rigid about sticking to his “offense is defense” philosophy which he (and Newsday) kept trying to sell us last season.  Now he has embraced bringing a defensive set to the minds of the players; the next step is to bring the players a defensive mind-set, but this is a process.

This year D’Antoni has made defensive pressure a part of the training camp drills, although it is hard to see the impact of those drills in the available film footage (Check out Alan Hahn’s valiant camera phone effort).  The defensive pressure is also not one of the elements noted much by the blogging eyes in Saratoga.

One of the things most Fanatics understand is that you can’t tell much about the upcoming season from training camp, but you are given some tidbits to help your analysis. It is particularly hard to determine how good players or different combinations of players are because they are all training against players who formed one of the worst teams in the NBA last year.  At this time last year we were concerned whether Jamal Crawford would find his shot which seemed to vanish until the end of pre-season and whether Zach Randolph would be able to adapt to the D’Antoni philosophy of ball movement from player to player not from Zach to Black Hole. (At the beginning of the season both Randolph and Crawford were able to adapt as the Knicks got off to a strong start before the leading scorers were caught in a salary dump, to the dump, to the dump.)

The Eyes Have It

Knicks Fans have a number of eyes at Training Camp this year including Tommy Dee of  The Knicks Blog, Alan Hahn of Newsday, Mark Berman of The Post, Seth at Posting and Toasting, and Frank Isola of the Daily News (he really offered very little observation and insight in the on-line version of the Daily News). 

According to most of these gentlemen, Friday night, the 4th night of training camp, was the most impressive as the players came out and played with considerable intensity. “The energy was awesome and regardless of what people think about this being a lost season I’m here to say that these guys are ready to compete and ready to win,” wrote Tommy Dee.  Dee’s enthusiasm is always nice, but not everyone there associated the evenings effort with the Knicks’ state of readiness for the NBA season.

Earlier, we provided you some video from T&P.  The Knicks Blog also has been providing nice multi-media coverage through the SNY-TV network. The following is their Training Camp Day 4 Video.

 

 

Regarding the intense Day 4 scrimmage according to Dee, “The best five, offensively, in terms of flow was Darko, Lee, Will, Hughes and C-Du. I’m very interested to see if that continues. They have obvious synergy, but it could be just tonight.”  Alan Hahn was more impressed with a different combination. He wrote, “The best lineup for the blues included a huge group of Gallinari, Jeffries, Lee and Milicic. That group moved the ball beautifully and seemed to have great chemistry at both ends of the floor. Milicic ran the floor well and, along with Lee, dominated the boards.” Seth at T&P added that Duhon came to life after Robinson’s squad of youngsters, including Toney Douglas, experienced some success in both trash talking and b-balling.

It’s a process.

Playa, Playa, Play On

Jared Jeffries – Jeffries remains one of the most consistent players on the Knicks.  He is a hard worker and a valuable tool. Unfortunately, Jeffries is often the poster child for offensive disabilities and his contract is one of those in the way of cap space security for fans afraid we won’t be financially prepared for the free agent shopping spree this upcoming summer.

According to Hahn, on the third night of training camp most of the players looked like their legs were dead and their shots were flat, but the “most fittest players such as Nate Robinson, David Lee and Jared Jeffries didn’t show it as much, but everyone else was clearly feeling it.”  I know, I know: Jeffries shot didn’t look as bad because it is almost always flat or a knuckleball, but I like Jeffries because he is a hard working T.E.A.M  player. By Friday night Hahn wrote, “Jeffries has looked very good in camp. He is even finding some consistency and confidence in his previously wayward shot. Not to say he’s a legit scorer, but Jeffries is trying hard to show he won’t be a liability on offense.”

Toasting and Posting wrote, “Brace yourself. Jared Jeffries has been one of the best players on the floor throughout camp. I’m serious. It was cute at first, but Jared made it clear tonight that he’s determined to be a factor. His outside shots continued to fall, and he put the ball on the floor for difficult finishes with either hand. On the other end, Jeffries hounded guards in the backcourt, then raced back to legitimately swat a few people under the basket. My friend (a Celtics fan, I’m afraid, but he appreciates the Knicks) said, without a hint of sarcasm, "he looks like Kevin Garnett out there". It was a sight to be seen.”

It’s too bad that almost every year Jeffries starts the pre-season like a gangbuster and gets injured or so it seems.  Let’s see if he makes it into the rotation on October 28th against the Heat.

Darko Milicic –Milicic, 24, is already in his seventh season. My question is not “How did he become a bust?” It’s “how many rookies has coach Larry Brown destroyed or misused in his career?”    By Friday night, Milicic dominated the boards and ran the floor well, according to Hahn, although he seemed to get hurt a couple of times, once when Toney Douglas landed on his head. Milicic understands that he can help the Knicks improve by rebounding and blocking shots.  "There’s a lot of scorers on this team, scoring is not a problem here," he said. "So I will try to help in other ways; try to rebound, try to block shots. All of this stuff is going to make this team better and get a couple of more wins, maybe for a playoff spot.”

Eddie Curry – Maybe he really is hurt.  Sometimes I regress to my conspiracy theorist days in college and I feel like Eddie Curry is not really hurt, but his conditioning is so bad that the coach does not want the rest of the world to see him practice publicly before he puts a big for sale sign on his Knick-neck.  But, he did practice the first day and he was wearing a boot while working out in the pool by the third day.  This brother is just a mess right now.  Put him on your prayer list please.

Danilo Galinari – Since he was drafted, I have been comparing his game to Jamal Crawford’s which is what I saw in the Euro-tapes.  I was not at all surprised that D’Antoni tried Gallo at the 2 spot which is a slightly better place for him, but according to Berman, “[e]ven D’Antoni admits – for all of Danilo Gallinari’s shooting grace – he still can’t create his own shot.”  That takes a chunk out of my Crawford comparison because Jamal can create his own shot with ease although the shots are not always easy to look at.

Seth at T&P was not impressed with Galinari’s speed on defense. “I think I buy the idea of Danilo Gallinari acting as a shooting guard on offense, but I’m not so down with his matching up that way on D. Gallo matched up with Nate Robinson and Marcus Landry (the latter of which isn’t nearly as ridiculous, but still) at times, and had trouble keeping up when he got screened or lost on the break. At one point, a frustrated Gallo objected to some physical positioning by Landry, and simply shoved him out of bounds with two hands. The guy’s got fire, but I wonder if throwing him out there against guards maximizes his talents.”

Toney Douglas – One of the most significant developments is that D’Antoni has already penciled Douglas in as Duhon’s back up. (Berman). This is not a surprise.  What was a surprise is that D’Antoni had practically written the rookie off as unprepared for the NBA after the Summer League.  "He didn’t have a good summer league, and it was a quick judgment and maybe made a mistake on," D’Antoni said. "He’s a lot better than I thought. He might have ran out of steam at the end of the week, and I judged him on that not being ready. Give him credit though. I showed him things he had to work on and he did."

Toasting and Posting noted, “Toney Douglas continues to impress me on defense. As an athlete, he’s unspectacular, but he’s determined to bust his ass to stay with his assignment. It’s especially refreshing to see someone get over a screen now and then.”

As I mentioned earlier, you are likely to see Douglas and Robinson on the floor together often, especially to improve the tempo of the game.  I would also not be surprised to see Douglas, Robinson and Duhon on the floor at the same time with perhaps Gallo, Jeffries or Chandler.  This combination puts Duhon in the best position offensively as he can pop the tre and play for the drive instead of concentrating on being the distributor.  It’s a small group, but until Milicic is ready, the Knicks’ best units will be smallish.

Al Harrington – Harrington is reportedly looking pretty active and aggressive, particularly on offense where he is also passing the ball around and driving to the rim which is when he is most effective.  Seth wrote, “Al Harrington, who continued to abuse every defender in his path (and a ref or two as well). I believe the word that Al’s added muscle over the summer, because he’s willing and able to bully his way to the basket and finish strong. The outside shots are falling, too.”  Solid play from Harrington will make it tough for D’Antoni to settle on a definite 8-10 player rotation.

We will get a better understanding of what all of this means when the pre-season starts tomorrow. I understand that O&B is going to try to pull together an LBE for tomorrow afternoon.  Stay tuned.

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DON’T FORGET TO ENJOY O&B’s INSIGHTFUL AND LONG LAP ON KNICK REVIVALISM

ALSO, DON’T FORGET TO ROCK THE VOTE FOR THE DANCE-SPIRIT TEAM

October 3, 2009 Posted by | Al Harrington, Chris Duhon, Danilo Gallinari, Darko Milicic, David Lee, Donnie Walsh, Eddie Curry, Jamal Crawford, Jared Jeffries, New York Knicks, Toney Douglas, Zach Randolph | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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,

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 Got Sixty-nine (69) Issues And (Hopefully) Bitching Ain’t One

oung-and-the-restless Knicks-logo Knicks fans love their basketball, but just as important as the play on the field is the drama that surrounds our home  team.  When teams like the Oklahoma Thunder and the Toronto Raptors have poor seasons from the beginning it can be easy to lose interest.  But the Knicks always have some drama going on either on the court,  in the locker room or outside of MSG.  Each year seems to have many great story lines to follow; and watching the Knicks is like watching a soap opera or at other times a situation comedy.

This year, like every other, there are many story lines to follow to hold one’s interest.  We have identified the following 69 issues or story lines that we will follow closely this season. Of course, the Scriptologists among you probably already know the resolution to most of these plotlines.  If any of you have more story lines, please share them in the comment section.

AS THE KNICKS’ WORLD TURNS

1. Will Danilo Galinari’s back hold up for 70-82 games?

2. Will Thrill Will earn his name and show more aggression consistently?

3. Will Toney Douglas become the starting point guard by the All-Star Break?

4. Will Eddie Curry ever get into “Seven Seconds Or Less” shape or revert to “Fat and Overweight” shape?

5. Will D’Antoni emphasize defense more this season or officially remove the “D” from his name?

6. Will the Knicks be in the battle for the 7th to 8th playoff spots or the NY lottery in January?

7. Will David Lee agree to a trade by February?

8. Will Darko go crazy in front of the camera again?

9. Will Walsh trade Jared Jeffries this season?

10. Will Walsh trade Larry Hughes this season?

11. Will Al Harrington or Nate Robinson be the spark plug off the bench?

12. Will the starting unit ever be Douglas, Robinson, Galinari, Lee, Chandler?

13. Will David Lee and Nate Robinson earn their million dollar bonuses and make the playoffs?

14. When the Hawks visit the Garden will Jamal Crawford receive an ovation?

15. When Jamal Crawford plays the Knicks, will he score 30 or more points or will he be guarded by Douglas?

16. Will Nate Robinson enter the All-Star Dunk competition?

17. Will Nate Robinson jump over Yao Ming to win the Slam Dunk competition?

18. Will the Scab Refs have jobs after the All-Star Break?

19. Will Toney Douglas shoot over 40% from under the arc?

20. Will Darko Milicic run the floor and play defense or rub his butt on the bench all season?

21. Will Larry Hughes hit a shot when it means something?

22. Will Larry Hughes be traded before David Lee?

23. Will David Lee continue to be the Knicks double-double man?

24. Will David Lee be forced to guard centers again?

25. Will anybody get sued by a chauffer this year?

26. Will the Newsday writers quit because of the humiliation of being told how to report on the Knicks?

27. What will Stephon Marbury do to get attention during the season?

28. Will the New York press go “goo goo ga ga” over LeBron when he comes to New York again?

29. Will Ron Artest, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum humiliate the Knicks?

30. Will the Knicks get 40+ wins?

31. Will D’Antoni return to the 7seconds or Less offense or continue to emphasize the pick and roll?

32. When Galinari drive to the hole, who will he kick out to for the tre?

33. Are there enough balls for a unit including Harrington, Hughes, Galinari and Robinson?

34. Will FIU make it to the NIT?

35. How many times will LeBron tell the press he is not leaving Cleveland during the season?

36. How many times will LeBron tell the press he is going to test the free agency market?

37. Will Ratner have enough money by December to save the Atlantic Yard project?

38. Will Chris Duhon shut down Brandon Jennings for punking him?

39. Will the Knicks be able to trade Eddie Curry this year?

40. Will the truth about Eddie’s alleged knee injury last year be revealed as pretext for being out of shape?

41. Will Rasheed Wallace, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen embarrass the Knicks at MSG?

42. Will the Knicks keep looking for a point guard during the season?

43. Will the Knicks continue to be without an All-Star Game participant?

44. Will Nate Robinson agree to a trade to the Western Conference?

45. Will Carmelo Anthony, Birdman, Chauncey Billups and K-Mart get pimp slapped by the Knicks?

46. Will Allen Iverson and Zach Randolph try to show off in the Garden and succeed?

47. Will Wilson Chandler and David Le be too much for Blake Griffin?

48. Will the press continue to treat Nate like garbage?

49. Will Wilson Chandler develop an inside game?

50. What will be Jeffries shooting percentage from under the basket?

51. How will D’Antoni use defenders like Douglas, Chandler, Jeffries, Hughes and Hill?

52. Who will complain about lack of minutes first, Darko or Curry?

53. What will Q-Rich do when he gets to the Garden?

54. Will Hill develop a consistent, strong inside move by the playoffs?

55. Will the incentive laden contract give David Lee incentive to play defense?

56. Will anybody take a charge besides Jeffries and Galinari?

57. Will someone assume the role of enforcer for the Knicks?

58. Will Stephon Marbury come to see the Knicks play in NY or LA?

59. Will Newsday ever write anything critical of Knicks management?

60. Will David Lee be able to guard Shaq while Chandler guards LeBron?

61. Will Curry’s former chauffer file for arbitration or bail on the entire process?

62. Will Newsday, which is owned by Cablevision which owns the Knicks, continue to have the most positive spin on the Knicks in New York?

63. Will Mike Breen continue to regale viewers his claims that Robinson is immature?

64. Will the New York media return to the days when black athletes had low basketball IQ’s and all the white athletes were geniuses, according to the press?

65. If the Knicks make the playoffs will Robinson and Lee share a part of their bonuses with teammates?

66. Will Chris Bosh or Joe Johnson become the Knicks’ new targets as “Saviors?”

67. Will the players make progress on the CBA?

68. Who will become the team leader?

69. Will opponents continue to enjoy their visits to the garden?

 

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September 28, 2009 Posted by | Al Harrington, Chris Duhon, Danilo Gallinari, David Lee, David Stern, Donnie Walsh, Eddie Curry, Isiah Thomas, Jordan Hill, Larry Hughes, New York Knicks, Stephon Marbury, Toney Douglas | , | 5 Comments

ESPN ANALYSTS FIND OBVIOUS TRENDS AMONGST KNICKS

image ESPN’s top NBA analysts Ric Buecher and John Hollinger combined their skills, tools and observations to find trends within the Knicks. The analysis is tucked away in the Insider which requires a subscription for this “insider information.”  Unfortunately in this case, it seems that their combined effort is no more than common sense.

First they determine that the player “trending up” is Wilson Chandler.  Hollinger expects Wilson’s player efficiency rating to increase slightly but not drastically.   He writes:

Chandler will start at small forward again and has a good chance to build on last season’s numbers since he’s only 22. It’s unlikely his playing time will increase much this season, especially if Danilo Gallinari is healthy, so any uptick in Chandler’s numbers will have to come from either finding more shots or converting more of the ones he takes. Either is possible, but we’re talking about incremental shifts here with a gradual build. He’ll probably lift his percentages a bit and average around 15 points per game, which is solid. Just don’t expect the moon based on a superficial reading of last season’s numbers.

The player thought to be trending downward is Darko Milicic.  He believes that Milicic is little more than good trade bait around playoff time:

What? You thought Darko would be reborn in Gotham? Let’s curb the enthusiasm. The Grizzlies traded Milicic to New York for Quentin Richardson, and Milicic will serve as the backup center and provide one of the few sources of defense in the basket area for New York. He’s a good option to bring off the bench for 20 minutes a night for that reason, but he may get lost in the Knicks’ run-and-gun approach. Additionally, he doesn’t have the skill level to finish pick-and-roll plays, the bread-and-butter of New York’s half-court game.

According to Bucher, Jordan Hill is the “name to know” which is translated to mean that Knicks hopes may rest on his shoulders as much as Danilo Galinari’s.  However, he expects little from the raw forward.

Most rookies have an easier time if they can play a role alongside an established star. The Knicks don’t have any bona-fide stars, but their post players, Lee and Al Harrington, have strengths, meaning they won’t yield easily to the rookie. Hill is not going to outrebound Lee, and Hill showed no signs in the summer league of having a superior inside-outside game to Harrington’s. So what does he do to make his mark?

Chances are, he won’t. He’ll be just another guy in the rotation, much like Gallinari. And that won’t help Walsh that much.

As I see it, these are all safe observations and predictions that tell us little about how the Knicks will fare this year.  The key to the Knicks is how well D’Antoni will be able to institute his offense (and whether they will play any defense).  I was cracking up earlier this morning because last year I spent a little time on the Fix, where Chris Duhon was treated like a God, criticizing Duhon and Walsh because their actions dismantled D’Antoni’s offensive scheme and turned it into a half-court pick and roll offense.  The only way that changes is if the conditioning and mind-set of the bigs handling the ball on in-bounds or rebounds and the guards bringing up the ball change their mind-set and move the ball (not themselves) quickly up the court.

Consequently, D’Antoni will be looking to Danilo Galinari and his guard corp to direct the offense. As, I  will write later, Galinari is being put in an awfully difficult challenge but what you must like about him is that he has a great competitive mentality which is an important part of what makes a great player.  Still, the Knicks are probably asking too much of him, his conditioning and his understanding of the NBA game.  With so much weight on Galinari it is highly likely he will “peeter out” by the all-star break.

Regarding Chandler, we all expect him to play better and hopefully with more anger and aggression.  However, the problem regarding Chandler is that the D’Antoni staff must begin to maximize this kid’s skills.  He has the ability to have a nice inside game, but turning him into a three point shooter will ultimately hurt his game and confidence.  We can expect the local Beats to pound on his image by interpreting his laid back, deferential and youthful approach to the game as having a “low basketball IQ.”  (That term rankles me coming from the Beats who understand the game far less than most of the players and have a paper trail of prognostications and observations to prove it.)

D’Antoni’s handling of Curry and Milicic will decide how quickly he can get the team to play consistent ball with each other.  No one really expects much from Curry who will probably not be in D’Antoni game shape.  That would require D’Antoni to alter his “game” for another season. I am not very familiar with Milicic’s game although I have reviewed a lot of tape.  I haven’t seen him get the opportunity to demonstrate all those skills he supposedly has, so I reserve judgment for the moment.

As mentioned before, the key to the Knicks will be the guard corp and whether someone can step up and displace Duhon from the position of titular point guard.  All eyes are on Toney Douglas as the player who hopefully will trend up and be able to direct D’Antoni’s offense.  He showed an ability to play the up-tempo game during the summer league where almost all the games were horse races from end-to-end.  Otherwise, we may see another season with major in-season trades that can disrupt the teams’ flow.

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Although, I sorta kinda follow ESPN’s power ranking, they really don’t tell you much more than how certain analysts think a team should be ranked. Very subjective.  However, they are still decent entertainment.

This year the Knicks start off at number 26 in the power ranking, under the Nets and above the Wolves, Grizzlies, Bucks and Kings.  We’ll see.

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DON’T FORGET TO ROCK THE VOTE FOR THE DANCE-SPIRIT TEAM


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“It’s Knicks Spirit Week”

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GULLIBLE’S TRAVELS: The Knicks’ 2010 Plan; Do You Believe That?

September 27, 2009 Posted by | Al Harrington, Chris Duhon, Danilo Gallinari, David Lee, Donnie Walsh, Eddie Curry, Mike D'Antoni, New York Knicks, Toney Douglas | , , , , , , , , | 2 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

“Walsh, Lee, Hurry Up There’s An Expiring Contract Available In Minnie.”

Everyone is reporting the imminent signing of Nate Robinson, including those who claimed Nate would notTrade For Me Please return, but David Lee remains Walsh’s problem child as Lee’s agents search feverishly for an acceptable sign and trade so that Lee can get paid starting this season.  Lo and behold, an opportunity has opened up in Minnesota where Kahn has authorized center Mark Blount to seek a trade.  Blount is in the last year of a contract which will pay him about $7.9 million this year, almost the $8-9 million Lee is expected to get in the first year of his next long-term contract.  For Lee this is a great opportunity to effectuate a sign and trade proposal, especially since the Knicks remain in flux at center.  They are set to experiment with Darko and Curry this season.  Blount’s expiring contract would fit quite well in Walsh’s plan and after screwing the Knicks all summer, Kahn could finally do a “solid” for his mentor by taking Lee.

Regarding Robinson we are awaiting the details of his contract to be revealed, but it is reported that it is laden with performance incentives. That deal heightens the drama value of the relationship between Robinson and D’Antoni.  If the incentives are attached to assists then D’Antoni might have a few sideline smiles to share.  If the incentives are attached to points scored, score one for fantasy geeks. If they are attached to wins. . . .(Knicks’ Spirit Week, remember) then hopefully he will double his salary.

Also take note that even the press has joined in on this as “Knicks Spirit Week.”  No one is negatively reporting Darko’s arrival from Serbia today, after he missed all of the voluntary training camp.  Than goodness he’s not Zach Randolph or we would already be hearing criticism about his work ethic and whether he fits as a Knick.

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Mike Wilbon refuses to buy into “Happy Week.” Forgive him, he lives in D.C. and is from Chicago:

It won’t take as long as some might think to start to get some answers to these questions. Training camps start in a week or so and the interminable NBA season is only five weeks away…Oh one more thing: stop waiting on the Knicks, who could be the most irrelevent and overhyped franchise in all of American sports. The Knicks last won in the early 1970s and since then it’s been mostly disappointments (except the two trips to the Finals in the 1990s). Only New Yorkers think the Knicks are hugely important to the NBA. They aren’t.

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DON’T FORGET TO ROCK THE VOTE FOR THE DANCE-SPIRIT TEAM

September 24, 2009 Posted by | David Lee, Donnie Walsh, Nate Robinson, New York Knicks | , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Lee’s Looking To Get The Hell Out Of Dodge, Gallo Is Ready To Play and Nate Just Wants To Sign His Contract

Training camp starts on September 28th. Nate Robinson is still not signed.  David Lee wants to get paid so he is still seeking a sign and trade.  (I can hear an insulted Lee now: “Let me get the funk out of Dodge.”  You go boy!).   And Gallo is ready to go to work. It’s getting close.

We are naming the week of September 20-25th “Knicks Spirit Week.” In commemoration of that week, this blogger will dedicate himself to saying only nice things about the Knicks’ dismal prospects for next season.  I am going to ignore the top half of the half-empty glass and the soot at the bottom third and only look at the top of the juice.  I am going to look at the sun and ignore the burning sensation on my skin.  I am going to be Mr. Positive in a sea of negativity.    I have already prepared our posts for the selection of our own Old School Dance-Spirit Team and a special instructive post for Knicks Fanatics to help you through the doldrums, the ups and downs and downs.

By the way, I am rooting for all of the Knicks, but I will be spending extra energy rooting for Gallinari because I like underdogs and Gallo is an underdog of a rooster.

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Just a little programming tease.  Mae West has already submitted her portfolio for the Fanatics Spirit Team along with 20 other ladies who plan to cheer you up next season.

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September 16, 2009 Posted by | Danilo Gallinari, David Lee, Nate Robinson, New York Knicks | 46 Comments

David Lee Still Looking For Sign and Trades, One Year Deal With Knicks Still Likely

In an interview with LoHud.com, David Lee says that he is frustrated but after meeting with Walsh is very clear on the Knicks’ perspective regarding 2010.  Lee wants to remain a Knick, but understands that he is unlikely to be here more than one more year.

It’s been a little frustrating, but my agent came up a couple of weeks ago and we had a meeting with Donnie Walsh and Mike D’Antoni and found out where we were, and the purpose behind what’s going on, and it kind of all makes sense to me now,” Lee said. “We agreed on what I thought I was worth, so it’s not a money issue. What it comes down to is they need their flexibility for the 2010 summer. Whether they can get LeBron or not, they need to have the flexibility to make a run at a guy like that. And that’s completely understandable from my standpoint. We’re going to continue to work on a few sign-and-trade possibilities; otherwise, we’ll continue to work on a one-year-deal.

“It has to be something where the Knicks can dump another salary or get another player in return they really want to have around,” Lee said. “There’s a couple of possibilities out there, and we’ll see if those come true, otherwise we’ll start talking to the Knicks about what we want to do for a one-year deal.”

Given the current unsubstantiated rumors about Kahn flying to Spain so that he can complete a deal with New York, fans may conclude that David Lee may be part of such a deal.  The only problem is that Rubio’s draft rights are not the financial equivalent of $9 million (Lee’s desired annual average).   The other problem is that Rambis may be flying to Europe too to talk to Rubio (Is he working on the Knick deal too?).

Hoopsworld’s analysis suggests that a deal would have to include Curry or Jeffrie’s contract and take into consideration the impact of the base year salary provisions of the CBA.

When the talk comes to the Knicks dumping another salary, it has to be Jared Jefferies or Eddy Curry. Plus, if Lee’s contract becomes anything near what he is looking for ($8-10 million to start) – or really anything over $2,235,041 – he becomes a Base Year Contract player, which makes working a trade more difficult because the Knicks can only take back half the value. The trade would have to be large enough so the BYC part of the trade could be absorbed in the overall total amount of the deal.

In essence, it makes a sign-and-trade pretty unlikely, but not impossible.

The most likely scenario is that Lee signs a one-year contract and Walsh tries to deal with the hard issues of building a contender next year.

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ADDENDUM: Some of you may be interested in Brendan Haywood’s half-ass apology to gays for his anti-gay sentiments in his diss of Stephon Marbury’s questionable behavior. Check it out at Yardbarker:My Apology

August 17, 2009 Posted by | David Lee, Donnie Walsh, Rick Rubio | 38 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