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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

“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

Knicks Top 10 Plays 2008-2009, Courtesy of NBA.com

It’s almost time folks.   As the debate about the efficacy of the so-called 2010 plan goes into repetitious overdrive, despite the quality of the 2009-10 home team, we are ready for some action.  Any action.  For the moment, we can look back and enjoy some of the best plays of last year’s campaign.

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One Knick personnel move went slightly unnoticed yesterday:  The Athlon NBA preview magazine was released and this year the New York-New Jersey edition features Chris Duhon.  Chris Duhon moved to the status of Knicks model or model Knick. . . . I hope he has a great year. . . .  Fanatics might be interested in an opinion piece on Eddie Curry which appears at the Dime spot.  According to the headline, Eddie Curry will be a mini-beast in 09-10. I hope he has a great year too. . . . Cablevision, after announcing that it would spin off the Knicks and other assets, has just priced an offering of $900 million in notes so that it could repurchase stock from unit CSC Holdings Inc. Earlier Cablevision announced plans to sell $500 Million in notes. Shares rose 0.2% to $24.07 in after-hours trading. The stock is up 42% this year.  Curry, Duhon and Knicks fans may have bad years, but Dolan probably won’t, even in this economy. . . .Speaking of Cablevision which owns Newsday and the New York Knicks, it appears that the Fix’s (Newsday’s Knicks blog) aesthetics are repaired in the comment section, though the Knicks 2010 Plan promotional material in the sports commentary remains the same. . . . The Knicks 2010 Plan is really a basketball executive diet which will go on the market in 2011 even if it fails.  I can hear Donnie Walsh now: “Try K2012 and gain more cap space in your pants.  I lost 3 pounds, $30 million and one job in three off-seasons”. Just Bloggin, kinda, sorta.

Oh I forgot, Follow me on twitter so I can direct your azz back to this site.  Hey, don’t hate the playa, hate the game. LOL. Have a joyous day.

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September 10, 2009 Posted by | Chris Duhon, New York Knicks | , , , , , | 10 Comments

Al Harrington Believes He Is Part of 2010 Plan And Is Looking To Make Playoffs This Season

One cannot fault Al Harrington for having a positive attitude.  Recently Dime Magazine caught up with him and asked him questions about the future, the 2009-2010 season and beyond. (I also note that several of the players have already be playing at the training facility, countering any fears that the failure to sign Nate and Lee has slowed down the team’s ability to work together over the summer and close to training camp.  As we all know, it is as important for the players to start working together as soon as possible before training camp in order to develop chemistry and some unity.)

Dime: This year is a contract year for you. How important is it for you to perform?
AH: It’s big for me but not only for a contract. Not only am I a player for the Knicks, I’m a Knicks fan. From day one, since I was little I was a fan because my mother was. So I just want us to do well man. I want us to find a way to make it back to the playoffs and that’s all I’m focusing on.

Dime: A lot of people look at guys like you and Larry Hughes as space fillers until 2010. Does that bother you?
AH: No I don’t look at it like that. My whole thing is that if our team wants to sign two max players, you still need a team you know what I’m saying? I know I’ll be a great fit no matter who they bring in because I’m a great basketball player. I can play the game in every aspect. Whatever coach needs me to do, I feel like I can do. So I’m going to be there, I’m not worried about it.

Dime: Do you think Nate Robinson and David Lee will be back?
AH: We need both of them back you know what I’m saying? Obviously they can’t get the years they want to get. But I feel if they come back and we have a great year, I think they’ll be taken care of. So we’ll see what happens.

Dime: What is your take on the two rookies Jordan Hill and Toney Douglas?
AH: I really don’t know that much about them. I played with the first time the other day at pickup at the practice facility. Douglas is very good young player with a lot of energy defensively and he can score the ball. Jordan Hill is a great athlete. He’s going to help block shots and clog up the middle for us. It’s going to take time with them, but I think they’re going to be good.

Dime: Are the Knicks going to make the playoffs?
AH: As of right now, I would say yes. I mean anything can happen. The way we play and the way that we score the basketball and looking at the guys we have now. If we can get some stops we could be a playoff team. I think we have to work on our defense and keep following coach’s philosophy on offense, I think we can be in the playoffs.

September 2, 2009 Posted by | Al Harrington | , , , , , | 5 Comments

KNICKS BEAT WRITERS BECOME NEWS WHEN TEAM HAS NONE

BEATS BITTER BATTLE BURNS BERTELSTEIN

Berman v Hahn

The hot button Knicks issue of the moment? David Lee may not be in training camp because he may not have a contract.  The result of the Beats returning from vacation with nothing much to write about? Probably.

Apparently, Newsday’s Alan Hahn, who is sounding more and more like Donnie Walsh’s consigliere, has renewed his word wrestling match with the Post’s Marc Berman, who Hahn all but accused of being Stephon Marbury’s PR manager before Steph produced  his own televised situation-dramedy.  This time the Beats’ infighting, outside the Garden, is  over whether David Lee may consider sitting out training camp as one of his options.

The funny brouhaha  started yesterday with Berman’s story in which he relayed a conversation he had with David Lee’s agent, Mark Bertelstein of Priority Sports.  During the conversation, Mr. Bertelstein implied that there was a possibility David Lee would not be in training camp if a deal was not completed by then.  Although he also stated that Lee was willing to take a reasonable one-year contract and that discussions had not yet gotten to that point, the New York Post’s headline writers focused on the more sensational point by presenting the story as a major pronouncement by David Lee. The headline read: David Lee Could Hold Out Of Knicks CampThe article stated:

The agent for David Lee would not rule out the possibility of his client being an unsigned contract holdout when Knicks training camp opens Sept. 28.

“I certainly hope not, but you have to have an agreement,” agent Mark Bartelstein told The Post yesterday. “I never thought we’d be this far without a deal. It comes down to making a deal. You have to ask [team president] Donnie [Walsh].”

“All we’ve agreed is if we can’t do a sign-and-trade, we will work out a reasonable one-year deal,” Bartelstein said.

Walsh did not return phone calls. Bartelstein said Lee will not accept the $2.5 million qualifying offer and dismissed rumblings Lee has been offered a one-year deal between $5 million and $6 million.

Immediately, not to be outdone, Hahn contacted Bertelstein who was reportedly incensed about  the article.   Newsday’s on-line headline writers took a swipe at Berman and the Post with the following headline: Agent: Lee Holdout Story Bogus Hahn wrote:

Mark Bartelstein was furious.

“I honestly think this is why athletes and agents are at a point where you don’t trust the media,” he said.

Bartelstein, who is David Lee’s agent, was referring to having his quotes misrepresented in a story by the New York Post today (we referenced Starberman’s report in the previous blog).

Bartelstein says he never said anything about a hold-out involving Lee, who remains an unsigned restricted free agent. In fact, he was merely answering a question about David not coming to camp if he wasn’t signed.

“I certainly hope not, but you have to have an agreement,” was Bartelstein’s reply.

Hahn ended his blog post with his version of a pimp slap to the back of Berman’s head.

“Donnie and I have worked on this thing all summer,” Bartelstein told me. “I understand where they are [with the 2010 plan] and what they’re trying to do. I’m not going to criticize Donnie and the Knicks for doing it.”

I know, that quote just doesn’t make a splashy headline, does it.

Not one to take a Hahn backhand without a quick response, Berman called Bertelstein and learned of  yet another Hahn diss.  He shared his conversation with the agent with us in his blog post entitled, Lee’s Limbo:

It is sad that one month from training camp, David Lee is unsigned and his agent Mark Bartelstein doesn’t know for sure if Lee will be signed by Sept. 28th when the Knicks bus to Saratoga..
That was my story today and don’t let anyone misrepresent it. I spoke to Bartelstein this afternoon, not realizing he had told someone else his quote was misrepresented in the piece. Not true. Bartelstein was angry with the headline but he had no problem with the way the story read. He said the story was accurate.
“But people read the headline,” Bartelstein said, which stated “Lee could be a holdout.”

Berman went on to defend his story by stating that Bertelstein never ruled out Lee not appearing in camp due to the lack of a contract with the Knicks.  Berman also did not absolve his headline writer of responsibility for the little tiff.

The bottom line for the Knicks fans is that nothing has changed and the real story was one Beats’ (Berman’s) effort to update an outdated story (Lee has no contract) and the subsequent spit ball fight between local reporters trying to appear more diligent than one another.  Exciting, isn’t it.

* * * * * * * * *

It should be rather obvious that the Knicks’ so-called 2010 plan is an absolute mess.  Newsday, which is owned by Cablevision, which owns the computers in the newsroom and probably the Blackberry’s in their reporters’ pockets and the  Knicks, joins pro-management blogs to spread the myth that Donnie Walsh has everybody, Sessions, Robinson and Lee right where he wants them — on the ropes almost forced to bend to his will and his plan.  That is simply caramelized fiction.

First of all, no championship contending team, and I repeat, no championship contending team has been built the way the Knicks are supposedly trying to re-build the team.  Walsh’s major mistake was his most important transaction after firing Isiah and hiring D’Antoni: overpaying point guard Chris Duhon to run D’Antoni’s offense. The key to D’Antoni’s offense is the point guard and picking the right one from free agency, or even better, from the draft, was critical.  Duhon-D’Antoni, despite Coach K’s references for his championship guard, was a terrible fit from the very beginning.  Duhon, a back-up point guard for a half-court offense in this league, never demonstrated the ability to run a fast-paced, fast-break offense.  Never.  Those who believe that Duhon started off well ignore two critical points: first, D’Antoni converted his offense to a pick-and-roll offense, after Crawford was traded, to fit Duhon’s style and conditioning.  Second, the Knicks’ record after the Crawford-Randolph trades was abysmal.  Who was leading that team?

More significantly, one must wonder, beyond the expiring contracts, what type of value can Chris Duhon, Larry Hughes and Al Harrington be used for to build the team.  They were obviously useless in terms of the Knicks moving up in the standings or the 2009 draft.  The most valuable Knicks remain Nate Robinson, Wilson Chandler and David Lee.  Danilo is only valuable in the hopes and dreams of New York fans who hope that his flashes of quality play were more than flashes.  Despite the inflated assist numbers borne from this offense, the entire league knows that Duhon did a mediocre job of running the scoring offense.  They may also have some doubt about his defense since the Knicks’ game has not featured that aspect of the sport.   The Knicks’ flirtations with Kidd, Sessions, Tinsley, “White Chocolate” and the like reinforced the Knicks’ belief that Duhon is not the guard they really want running the offense.

Some fans believe that any move is an acceptable move as long as it creates cap space.  That notion is a half-step and a long fall short of idiotic.  Every transaction has considerable repercussions beyond creating cap space.  Let us name a few:

  1. Every player traded for has a value either as a player or as a contractual obligation which must be considered. (Who can we get for Al Harrington, a Donnie Walsh joint?)

  2. The players brought to a team help establish a culture and atmosphere which may or may not attract other quality players. (Has that winning culture arrived yet?)

  3. How management treats its quality players who have been loyal sends a signal to the rest of the players in the league and can impact the attitude of the retained players in the upcoming season. (Sure Nate and David are professionals, but what will their contribution be to the Knicks’ culture beyond working hard to win that next contract from another team? One of the major problem with Isiah’s Knicks was that he presumably lost his players respect by how he treated Stephon.  His team did not work hard consistently.)

  4. The elite players will make elite money no matter where they go, but they all want something more — to win.  What do the Knicks’ offer the elite franchise free agents — a winning culture or the opportunity to help James Dolan build from scratch?  Who really wants that — apparently not Jason Kidd, Grant Hill nor Steve Nash.

Soon, you will see apologists back track from the promises of the 2010 plan and tell us to look at 2011.  It is the current MO.  Last year, we were told the Knicks’ goal was the playoffs, but later in the year we learned that the Knicks weren’t actually  as concerned about achieving the goal as they were stating it.   Now we are told that it is not important what player we get in 2010, just that we are ready to get one.  But still, we have no idea what kind of team we are trying to build.   Build it and they will come, says one of my favorite commentators? Query in response: build what , with what?

August 28, 2009 Posted by | Al Harrington, James Dolan, Nate Robinson | , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Where Am I? Another Fanatic Hit By A Turtle

TUrtle Don Walsh

I am ROFLMAO as I shake off that crash I just had while following that slow moving 100-year old turtle named Donnie Walsh.  Fortunately, all that I suffered were lacerations and a slightly perforated and folded Fanatic heart, which I understand can be repaired by some nifty last minute general manager type moves – the kind of moves that would be made by a good general manager or team president like Red Auerbach, Jerry West, Pat Riley or that Presti kid in Oklahoma City. It is now a few weeks before school is back in session (remember this word for your first spelling test), so tell your children to enjoy the rest of the summer.  It goes by very quickly.  For Fanatics the summer is going by too quickly, as we watch and wait for the Turtle to catch up to it (we do feel ya Turtle Don — we can appreciate that it must be hard to move faster when one is saddled down with all those heavy futuristic 2010 plans under his hard head shell).

No one wants to acknowledge it, as the Knicks’ mouthpiece, Newsday, tries to put a positive spin on everything Walshonian (did you check out the last non-report that Walsh was relieved that Kidd rejected his offer? Now how stupid is it for a GM to make a long-term offer you don’t want accepted?), but there is a major problem with waiting this long to sign a building team’s best players: a team’s success is based on chemistry which usually starts off the court at some point in the off-season.  Yes, chemistry starts with a core of teammates who act like teammates.  Right now we have Darko, Chandler, Duhon, Hughes, Harrington and Gallinari.

If you may recall, it was clear last year that D’Antoni’s system required an early start for its players to get conditioned themselves and to their teammates.  As you also may recall, last year the Knicks at least started working out with each other in Las Vegas around the time of the summer league when everyone popped up to meet D’Antoni and watch Nate’s summer league jersey get hung on the brick wall.  Sure it was everyone’s first time in the system and they all wanted to get to know each other, but it would sure be nice if someone acted like this season isn’t just another throw away. (Or at least reduce the price of the freakin’ tickets for this season of Seven seconds or mess).

The other problem, at least in the short term, is that this whole slow grind summer has really demonstrated how little respect and confidence the Knicks have in their own players; Lee, Robinson and Duhon must not feel very good about their team right about now.  First off, Lee and Robinson don’t have teams yet.  Lee has already expressed his feeling of disrespect; Nate is just chilling, waiting for the pen or the hammer (saw?) to drop.

Duhon is straight – he’s got a contract – but he’s gotta know that flirtations with Jason Kidd, Jason Williams, Andre Miller and, now, Ramon Sessions are collectively a sign that his willingness to work overtime for the Knicks after Walsh decided not to get PG-support last season, was not really appreciated.  Walsh going kissy, kissy with so many points also belies the myth that the Knicks thought Duhon played poorly because he was tired.  If they believed that, he should be able to retain his winter job after a summer of rest – especially with rest during a summer moving this slowly.

That hit I took from the Turtle leaves me feeling a little disrespected too.  I talked to my lawyer about my personal injury lawsuit against MSG, but Ms. Sotomayor (that wise Latina) told me they have the big bucks and a good strategy to defend the accident-prone Walsh – their lawyers at Newsday claim that the Turtle was not moving slowly in the fast lane; in fact, they claim, he was being patient and doing his due diligence.  I replied, yeah right, “He was doing his due diligence by pecking at the cell phone while driving.  He couldn’t get Session’s numbers right as he took his eyes off the road.  He looked up and saw the “2009-2010 Five Weeks Ahead” sign and bumped us as we followed him onto the rumble strip and into the drainage ditch. That Old Dirty Slow Azz Turtle Bastard.”

August 8, 2009 Posted by | Donnie Walsh | , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

DAVID LEE IS NOT HAPPY WITH THE KNICKS, EXPECTS TO BE TRADED

From David Lee Expects To Be Traded by Chris Sheridan of ESPN.com

David Lee Speaks… He’s out in Las Vegas with the USA basketball program. However he isn’t participating in any activity due to the fact that he is still a free agent and an injury could really scare away any future teams from signing him. In an interveiw he did (finally) with ESPN he didn’t sound very pleased with what was going on;

“At the start of this process I was really excited to be in New York, I thought it wouldn’t be too difficult to work something out, but now we’re forced to start looking at different options with sign-and trades and stuff like that,” Lee told ESPN.com. “I’m sure it’s going to be something we’re not expecting, it’s going to be something that’s very complicated. But my gut would be that it’s going to be difficult at this point to get a long-term deal done with New York, that’s my gut.” “But my gut changes about every three hours, so I really have no idea.” “Going forward I thought I could still be a big piece of the puzzle — and it’s not as though I’m looking at a max contract, or talking about either me OR LeBron. I thought it was something where we could get something done and they’d still have more than enough left over for what they wanted in the future, but apparently there’s some disagreement on that — just on how the Knicks want to move forward. And I think at this point they’re not completely sure what they’re going to do and how they want to proceed,” Lee said. “I’m not going to go with angry or disrespected, that’s not the way we feel,” Lee said. “I understand the Knicks have a lot of different factors they’re considering. At this point they’re looking toward the future and trying to figure out exactly what they want to do, and possibly even confused about what they want to do. I don’t know that they’re 100 percent sure right now, just from what Donnie is saying, that they 100 percent know what direction they want to go in. You’ve seen that with the different guys [Jason Kidd and Grant Hill] they’ve been trying to get, and they haven’t gotten them. “It’s no fun right now because it’s the next five to six years of my life, but it should be fun to see what does come out of this.”

July 24, 2009 Posted by | David Lee, New York Knicks | , | 69 Comments

LEE MAY BE BLAZING A NEW TRAIL BY JULY 15th

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

POLL 1

POLL 2

POLL 3

July 5, 2009 Posted by | David Lee, Eddie Curry | , , , , | 31 Comments

Knicks’ Depth Chart: Where Do We Go From Here?

PG Chris Duhon Toney Douglas
SG Larry Hughes Nate Robinson
SF Wilson Chandler Danilo  Gallinari Al Harrington
PF David Lee Jared Hill Darko Milicic
C Jared Jeffries Chris Wilcox Eddie Curry

Above is the New York Knicks’ current depth chart. Unlike much of the speculative press, I will assume that Walsh wants to sign both David Lee and Nate Robinson for the upcoming season. It makes a little sense to sign the homegrown talent to give the product stability until you figure out what your new talent can do. It may also make a little sense to work the year with 13-14 contracts instead of 15 to help insure that the team remains significantly below the cap by the following year.

Nevertheless, the roster still looks like a mess. Unless a point is signed, Toney Douglas may be the pleasant surprise of the year. The other major story lines so far are about players rehabbing physically (Danilo) and emotionally (ECity). We ask can Chandler develop while playing with placeholders such as Hughes and Harrington?

This is not looking too good much better than last season so far. Tomorrow creeps at its petty pace from day to day. 2010 where are you?

June 29, 2009 Posted by | Al Harrington, Chris Wilcox, Danilo Gallinari, David Lee, Larry Hughes | , , , , , , | 13 Comments

THE OTHER SIDE OF MID-LIFE

Welcome To The Other Side Of Mid-Life

Welcome To The Other Side Of Mid-Life

Well Gents, I can no longer declare that “I am damn near 50,” as I was blessed enough to hit the mid-century mark on June 3.  It was a normal day — just one additional blessing.  I was able to rise up, look up and send up some praise and a prayer of gratitude.

Usually, I don’t think much of my own birthdays and birthday celebrations.    I prefer to think of my birthday as a day to honor my mom who did all the heavy lifting  as I was just chillin’ in some fluid waiting for the right astrological moment to bust a move and get some sunshine.  I remember it as clearly as a foggy day.  On that hot summer afternoon, Mom  hopped (more like wobbled, probably) on a CTA bus to Cook County Hospital where I was eventually born.  She did all the work. I was just along for the ride.  RIP Mommy.

Fortunately for me though, my friends like to celebrate my birthday and they really got to me on this one.  I received well wishes from many of my friends by phone, Facebook, e-mail and sing-a-gram.  That forced me to really think about the big 5-0.  It made me consider all the friends and people I knew over the years who had not made it this far.  I viewed my fortune from the perspective of a black man born and raised on the South Side of Chicago and remembered that generally and statistically my life expectancy was not much greater than my friends and neighbors, who died already between the ages of 17 and 45.  But it wasn’t just those who stayed Southside and struggled in life who passed.  I also have several very well educated and financially successful friends who died unexpectedly from tragedy and bad health.  No matter your “social station” in life, the next day is not promised.

So it was a big deal when I got up and celebrated my birthday by hitting the YMCA early in the morning to shoot some hoops.  I played with a bit more intensity than usual.  I was damned sure going to start the second half of my century by winning more than losing.  It would not have been a celebration to go 0-6 like I did the previous roundball session two days prior.   I played so hard that I sprained my foot and missed the next three days– but at least, for that day, my team won all but one game (with me running point of course. Take that Chris Duhon.  LOL.).  It was a great way to start the next fifty years (except for the sprained foot of course, but at least I was able to sprain it while doing what I love.)

While my mobility was a bit limited, I decided I would still take a little trip to one of my favorite places — the Blogosphere.  Not quite Hawaii or the Cayman Islands, but I found it filled with many wonders and treasures.

FIRST STOP, OPP FANTASYISLAND

On my first trip around the blogosphere on this side of Mid-Life I was crack-a-lackin’ at warp speed until I reached a spot where no extraterrestrial had traveled before.  Early in my trip, I was reminded that being a Knick fan is a trip.  Since we have been downtrodden for too long, we have resorted to full-fledged fantasy — two levels higher than flat out wet dreaming — to remake our vision of our home team.  We are so emotionally challenged that many fans are throwing away the next two years of competition and playing with visions of OPP (Other People’s Players).  And the marketplace knows it . . . .

This was never clearer than the  fan voting contest for the cover of NBA2K10 featuring Kobe Bryant.  One of the pics (Probably designed just for DVJ (wherever he is), Steady and Paulnoize) had Kobe popping a Knick Uni.

Kobe In Knick Uni 2K10-04

Even your boy Spike Lee, the icon of commercialized Knick Fanaticism, is hard selling Kobe as a Knick.

But, it is not the “Black Mamba” that most New Yorkers are slobbering about on their pillows.  The New York MSM (especially that non-singing group of journalists called the “Knick Beats”) is selling the unlikely and improbable — the hope and hype that LeBron will dress up in Orange and Blue for more than a photo shoot or a cartoonish video-game cover.  LeBron ain’t coming but this pic won’t stop us on our trip to Delusion, two blocks south of FantasyIsland.

lebron as a Knick

I heard it said that “No Man Is A FantsyIsland Unto Himself,”  but sometimes New York Nation is like a lonely Gilligan’s Island, where the fans are watching James Dolan make love to Mrs. Howell, while the GMs run the team like the Gilligan and the Skipper but the press treats them like they’re the Professor.  We forget that others do not see the world from the core of The Apple like New Yorkers do.  Some people see the world differently than we do.  For instance, while many New Yorkers think Stephon Marbury is the most hated basketball player on the face of the universe, they would be stunned to learn that Starbury only earned the third spot of the  Ten Most Hated Players according to a poll sponsored by Bust A Bucket.  El numero uno most hated player was our object of desire — Kobe Bryant, who is seen as the Darth Vader of the NBA.

kobe-vader

Kobe Vader

marbury

Green Goblinbury

Kobe may be the most hated but the scariest picture in the article was that of Carlos Boozer as Venom. It is a funny piece. I recommend that travellers check it out just for the laughs.

Carlos Boozer As Venom

Carlos Boozer As Venom

Wrong Turn At 3rd and Delusion?

Although some of us are dreaming about Kobe, we can remember that the reality is  the Knicks once owned a critical piece of LA’s near championship squad — Trevor Ariza.  The New York Times has a nice piece about Ariza’s development and his new-found stardom with the Lakers in his hometown.  While, Larry Brown thought Ariza was delusional and he told Ariza not to shoot, Orlando, which received him in a trade for Stevie Franchise, was disappointed that they had to release him in order to make room for Rashard Lewis.  Ariza is proof that a player with heart and will can learn to shoot with the right coaching. After being traded by Orlando to the Lakers, Ariza became a student of three point specialist Craig Hodges in order to improve his game.  Now he is very reliable from the tre and is loving the confidence his teammates and coaches have in him.  A long way from being delusional

Speaking of mentally troubled, I see that Larry Brown is very concerned that Michael Jordan is not going to be his boss anymore because Robert Johnson is considering selling all or a majority share of the Bobcats.  Current indications are that MJ does not want to buy at Johnson’s prices and he may be ushered out by new ownership if he does not ante up some cash.  Larry isn’t saying that he would leave, he was just musing about the possibility that he will need to look for another coaching gig. But, we all know “Next Town Brown” started looking for his next coaching job the day after he signed a contract to coach Jordan’s team.

Perhaps we should bring the Master of Delusion back so that we can ask him why (or whether it is true) that former Knicks usually look better after they leave.  Even Marbury seems to “look” better according to how he was depicted in the following promotion for his new workout video.

NATE AS IN PAST TENSE

Tommy Dee @ theKnicksblog says that Nate Robinson is fairly certain that he will not be a New York Knick next season. Dee says that the word is Nate is saying his New York goodbyes even on Twitter. According to Dee, Nate wants to play for Portland which is looking for a seasoned guard, like Andre Miller, so that Brandon Roy can move to the 2-spot. He’s also believing that Nate’s time with the Knicks is done since the Knicks are looking for a new guard. He expects Lee to stay, in part because David’s girlfriend is developing her career from the City.

Others are reporting that Lee is being sized up for a sign and trade which only points out the myriad of choices the Knicks have to make. I would not be surprised if Lee is gone and Nate is still around.  Despite D’Antoni’s obvious exasperation with Nate, the guard corp is more important to D’Antoni than an defenseless, undersized  power forward.  Plus  it is probably cheaper to keep Nate and deal Lee for a piece or two after a hefty signing.  We’ll see.  Just be patient, right?

One thing that trips me out though is this insistence that what Donnie Walsh is doing and has done is reflective of his lauded “patience.” A couple of the Knicks Beats have picked up on this theme proffered by Cablevision which owns Newsday and the alt-del buttons on all the newsroom computers.  Dee writes the following about Walsh’s consideration of David Lee, “We know Walsh is a patient man and there is no decision that gets made without incredible detail and you can bet that he will test the sign and trade waters before committing.” Such characterizations crack me up, first especially since only an idiot would not consider the sign and trade options for both Nate and Lee; second, Walsh’s first season was such a poor-to-mediocre year for Knicks management that “patience” is more accurate for press coverage of the team’s poor performance.

MOCKING THE MVPs

I came up on another spot that was highlighting hilarious spoofs of the LeBron-Kobe Muppet show.  Check them out.  Warning, the language is a little sailor salty.

FROM HOT CLICKS TO HOT CHICKS

I don’t know how I got there, but in Chris Columbus tradition, I stumbled onto Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks written by Jimmy Triani and it had me dying laughing.  I’ll try my best not to steal all the gold from his site for this post, but it’s kind of hard not to pay much respect to a site that leads from Hot Clicks to Hot Chicks.  You’ll understand better later in this post.

Anyway, he referenced this  YouTube video that I thought was pretty funny on several levels.  This is a Tman post in pictures:

Speaking of hot clicks, we also picked up a few more gems for our link chain.  We added the following links to the sidebars.   If you get bored at work, check them out:  Ballhype, Black Sports On Line, KnicksFanBlog, Life of A Knicks Fan. We also added a couple of good sites focused on our NBA rivals: Orlando Magic Blog, Third Quarter Collapse (another Magic Blog), Blaze of Love (Portland Trailblazers) and Bust A Bucket.

I knew  I was at the tail end of my travels when I ran  into Sexy Chicks That Tweet.   Twiddle dee, Twitter dumb.  And I just thought that Tweeting was another way of connecting with like-minded Knicks fans.  Never have 140 words looked so good.

In the face of  such inspiration, Chickipedia writes “Twitter’s an amazing, and particuarly proletarian, technological phenomenon because it puts dweebs and gorgeous models on the same dialog chains, creating amazing cultural opportunities based on two of our most valued social touchstones: inanity and self-absorption.”

Well, based on my fitty-plus (counting the days) years of experience.  Some people “tweet” and others “do.”  Hats off to Jamie Foxx, a dude who does do.   His ample lips got swolled (as did other body parts) when he landed a french-lick kiss from  hot chick Halle Berry who was at the Spike Awards receiving the Spike TV’s Guys’ Choice Decade of Hotness Award.  You go boy.

Halle and Jamie

Man. Fitty and some days.  What a journey.

June 11, 2009 Posted by | David Lee, Donnie Walsh, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James., Mike D'Antoni, Nate Robinson, New York Knicks, Stephon Marbury | , , , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments