Tag:New York Knicks
Posted on: October 28, 2009 12:54 pm
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How the Knicks can get the 8 seed this year

Knicks basketball starts up in just under 7 hours, and nobody has bothered to do a nice preview for them. Where has the official CBS Knicks blogger been to make that happen? What, that's me? Oh...

Yet again, the Knicks are waiting for LeBron. But there are some interesting differences between this season and last season, despite both of them being seasons with no chance for an NBA title. The two main differences between this season and last season are:

1) Knicks have a better roster this year. Q-Rich is gone, but Darko is here to add post defense, lotto pick Jordan Hill exists, and anything he does will be a bonus, late 1st round draft pick Toney Douglas will enter the Knicks heavy minute rotation and has shown flashes of being a good defending guard, something the Knicks desperately need, and Danilo Gallinari is going to be healthy this season, and bring his mix of outside shooting and surprising defense to the mix.

2) Knicks have a better situation going into this year. Nobody is going to be chanting "We want Steph!" at opening night at the Garden this year. Reporters havn't covered the Knicks like the paparazzi all over Brittney, as was the case last season. People know their roles, they know the Knicks don't have too many moves up their sleeves this season, and they are likely to feel comfortable in their security of being a Knick all year long. Plus there is one full year in the D'Antoni system under the belts of most key contributers. There is a lot to be said for that.

I think both these things should translate to a few more wins then the 32-50 record.

Now the most common argument against the Knicks showing any improvement is "Everyone else got better, too!". Well, the Knicks don't care about the top of the East. They were better then the Knicks anyway, and they beat the Knicks most every time last year. The Knicks arn't going to start going .500 or even .250 against the cream of the crop. And did the teams competing for the bottom of the East really improve as much or more then the Knicks did? Knicks filled their greatest hole, interior defense, and added two lottery picks (Danilo might as well be an addition after sitting out most of last year) and a defending guard. That's pretty strong.
But let's say that you still don't believe that the Knicks, despite having a better roster, a better scenario, more experience with the SSOL, and less distractions this season, are good enough to improve their 32-50 record. Here are 3 other ways the Knicks may get better as the season goes along.

1) Cuttino Mobley's insured contract. What a great trade chip this contract is. It's 9.5 million and 80% insured. So right now, it represents a way for a team to save almost 8 million dollars in salary. In these harsh economic times, what kind of player can you get if you give a team 8 million dollars? I'd like to think you could get a pretty nice piece for that kinda contract.

Now Donnie Walsh will dangle this bad boy in an effort to move Eddy Curry or Jared Jeffries, but if he can't move either of them, expect him to flip it for either a 1 year rental or a young player in a bad sitation that won't cut into the 2010 plan too much.

2) Larry Hughes's 13.5 million dollar expiring contract. The Knicks have no use for Larry Hughes. Mostly because he is, as Charles Barkley would say, "turrrrrible". But perhaps the Knicks could swap this expiring deal for a expiring deal that better suits the team. Or maybe this high dollar contract will be the perfect matching contract towards a superstar that gets disgruntled at some point this season, and can be had for peanuts. The large amount of dollar signs on Larry Hughes' contract makes it a very flexable tool that can be used in a number of ways to improve the Knicks, either in 2009, 2010, or maybe both.

3) Youth. The simple reason may end up being the right one in this case. The Knicks are still, at their core, very young. Danilo, Hill Ghostface Douglas, Nate, Lee, Chandler. These guys still have room to grow. Nate during the preseason looked like the light clicked on for him that he can be a 2.5 steal/game player. Lee will continue to improve his jumper with time. Danilo will get better as the season goes on and he passes the half century mark in NBA games played. Chandler will continue to figure out how to best guard wingmen and how to get his own shot, and his outside stroke will likely get better with time. There is still some untapped upside with a majority of the Knicks rotation. The Knicks should fufill some of that upside this season, maybe just a little, but maybe a fair amount.

Will the Knicks make it all the way to the playoffs? I don't know. I kinda hope they don't. I think this is a 36 win team as currently assembled. If the Knicks make just 1 good move, they could be a 39 win team easily, which could easily make the playoffs this year. But I'd rather the Knicks made the good move of trading Jeffries or Curry then the good move that gets the Knicks the 8 seed. The playoffs would be awesome, but there will be plenty of playoffs in the future after this season. I'd rather do all we can to lock up a situation to lure the King to the Basketball Mecca then try to make the playoffs with no chance of doing anything.

But I kinda think the Knicks will in fact make the playoffs, despite my best wishes. Donnie Walsh is no dummy. He knows the stupid sports media is going to act like the LeBronless Knicks need to make the playoffs this year to be an attractive place for LeBron to sign. I don't understand how people think a teams success or lack thereof before LeBron shows up will indicate their success with LeBron. You just run your team around LeBron if you have him, so the pieces hardly matter around him. But anyway, after Walsh makes an effort to free salary up, if he can't find any takers for Jeffries/Curry, expect him to trade away those two contracts I mentioned to try to obtain a couple rentals to help propel the Knicks into the playoffs. With no #1 pick in 2010, the Knicks have nothing to lose by trading their expiring contracts for useful pieces, and may well take that road as the season goes on.

I really hope Walsh pulls off another masterpiece trade, gets rid of Jeffries or Curry, and the playoff dream fades away. But if that doesn't occur, New York could well challenge for that 8 seed, a lot harder then you think. If it happens, you heard it here first.
Posted on: July 8, 2009 2:48 pm
 

Shocking NBA news: Cap to drop by 9 mil for 2010?

This is a total game changer for the NBA as a whole, and I still can't fully believe the full scope of what this news really means. I'm literally stunned. Let me try to break it down to give everyone the complete picture...

First off, as anyone who has read my work on the recent NBA free agents has seen me mention many times, the salary cap is derived from something called BRI, or Basketball Related Income. The general idea is to take the total basketball revenue of the NBA, divide it by almost half (51% to be exact, the share that should go to the players), and then divide that by 30 for the 30 teams. I expected the 2009 cap to come in at 59 million dollars or so, I was thinking there would be a 1% increase in the BRI. This was a bad thing for teams targeting 2010 free agents, because the cap has grown from 3-5% every year for the last 4 years or so. Less cap growth means less cap overhead to spend on max deals for the big time class of 2010.

Well, the 2009 cap is in now. And it's DOWN 1%. Last year, the salary cap was 58.7 million (roughly). This year, it's 57.7 million.

All those free agents that expected to get 5.9 million on the mid level exception contracts they signed, they are only going to get about 5.7. Trevor Ariza, Ron Artest, they both just watched about 3 million dollars vanish. Hedo Turkoglu probably just lost 10 million dollars over the life of his long term deal unless the Raptors get creative and make more cap room for him (or I am missing something, but I feel good about being right about this). Anyone who wanted to make a run at the restricted free agents like David Lee, Paul Millsap, or Ramon Sessions, they just lost about 2 million dollars in cap space between what they thought they would have to offer and what they really do. This is a game changer on a level I can't overhype, it's big time news.

I could write all day about how this changes things for David Lee alone. Nobody has the cash to offer him an under the cap deal he would accept. And nobody now has the money to throw him an offer the Knicks won't be really tempted to match. The Knicks are rumored to want to keep Lee at a price like 7 million dollars. Lee wanted 10 million. Lee is very unlikely to get what he wants now, 10 million is a lot more today then it was tomorrow, not just because of the drop in the cap, but the predicted drop in the cap going forward (the huge news I will get to soon). The unfathomable might just have happened, David Lee might stay in New York for a number of years. But as much as I love the Knicks, this news goes far beyond the situation in New York.

Let's go with a direct quote from tWWL for this one:

In a memo announcing next season's salary cap and luxury-tax threshold, sent out shortly before the league's annual July moratorium on signings and trades was lifted at 12:01 a.m. ET Wednesday, NBA teams also received tentative projections from the league warning that the cap is estimated to drop to somewhere between $50.4 million and $53.6 million for the 2010-11 season.
This floors me. The economy for the NBA is worse then I ever thought, on a scale of like 4 fold. And I have been on record as being VERY gloomy about the future of the NBA on the economic side. I expected a 2010 cap of 63 million, which is far less then the numbers like 68 that have been thrown out by a multitude of sources, both large and small. I can't believe this! Let's take the number 53.1 million dollars for a 2010 cap and let me show you how huge this is for the NBA (I have previous data for a cap number of 53.1 million dollars that I can use to give you accurate information).

Let's take LeBron James, the poster child of the 2010 offseason. He had a 17.1 million dollar team option that he was expected to decline. It was thought that he would be able to get an offer on the level of 17.5 million from other teams on a cap of 63 million. But now the cap is going to be (let's say) 53.1 million.

LeBron's max salary in 2010, if he opts out, is 25% of the cap, and that is the 48.04% BRI cap rate (called the Alternative Cap), not the 51% BRI cap rate that me and you know as the cap. At 53.1 million, LeBron's new MAX deal would be just under 15 million dollars! The Knicks, the Nets, the Pistons, anyone you think would want to offer LeBron a deal, they can't even offer The King 15 million if this doom and gloom prediction comes true. Cleveland, however, still has LeBron's bird rights, and now they can offer LeBron way more money then any other team. Advantage Cleveland?

Yes and no.

It's true that Cleveland can offer LeBron a 6 year deal starting at 17.2 (roughly) in 2010 if LeBron does opt out, while the Knicks can only offer 5 years starting at 14.9, but the real question now is, do you want to offer LeBron that much money? Think about this, 17.2 million is roughly 33% of the total cap! If the Cavs add Chris Bosh at 15, that's just under 20 million to field a team! In theory, you can build a team with 20 million, but unfortunatly for the Cavs:

2010 salary:
Mo Williams - 9 million
Delonte West - 4.5 million with a 500k buyout (non-guarenteed deal)
Daniel Gibson - 4 million
J.J. Hickson - 1.5 million

Total, roughly 20 million.

The Cavs literally would have to sign another 6 players for the league minimum (does not count against the cap) to field this team. It would be Mo, LeBron, Bosh, West, Gibson, Hickson, and a bunch of D-League players. How can that team compete with Kobe and Gasol and Bynum and Artest and maybe Odom (very likely Odom now, the Lakers are probably dying to lock Odom up and his market just went down the tubes with this news)? I don't think they can.

There is next to no good way to play 2010 now. The NBA might literally find themselves in a state of anarchy. All these free agents are going to get FAR less money then they ever thought (remember, when the cap goes down, the MAX on new deals goes down!), and if they stay where they are for the Bird Rights to get more money, then their team will have next to nothing to find new pieces to help them.

I could go on all day about how this changes things, but I can happily report that Knicks GM Donnie Walsh is ALREADY making moves to adjust. How? He just offered Grant Hill a huge deal, 5 million for 1 year or 10 million for 3. That is 250% more then the Knicks were offering before this news.

Why? It's because of the new biggest name in the NBA trade/free agent market, a cost controlled player who can help your team win without a big cap hit. All of a sudden, the most coveted player for any team that is trying to win in 2010 and knows it needs cheap players to do so.

Try to follow this. Grant Hill makes Wilson Chandler expendable. Wilson Chandler makes the Timberwolves ears perk up.

And Ricky Rubio might just be the biggest player a team that wants to sign anyone big in 2010 can get. A cost controlled starting PG that loves to pass and make teammates better. He's got star power. He's got a low cap number. He could be the best player in the 2009 draft.

And his upside just got about 5 times more desirable, for a number of factors, most of all the cap.

I'll be here all day to field questions, I'm only stopping here because I have so many different thoughts, I'd like to save the rest of them to share with people who have specific questions, and I could use the break to get a better grasp of how expansive this news truly is. Feel free to stop in and ask anything, I'm very happy to answer to the best of my ability anything you want to know or me to make more clear!
Posted on: July 7, 2009 2:31 pm
 

More proof LeBron will be a Knick next year, yea!

So for those of you that missed it, LeBron James was apperantly trying to court Trevor Ariza to back out of his deal with the Rockets and jump ship to the Cavs. The Cavs put on the full court press to get Trevor to bail on the Rockets, owner/coach meetings face to face and calls from LBJ and Shaquille O'Neal , so even though the Cavs could only offer the mid-level, they tried to stand out. The most interesting part of this? The following leak about a phone call LeBron had with Trevor A.:

"Trevor asked LeBron if he would be in Cleveland after next season," the source said. "And LeBron said, 'I'll be there. Of course, I'll be there.' "
Ouch, big blow to Knicks fans, looks like LeBron is staying...

Oh wait, of course he isn't...

LeBron's camp is now going out of their way to deny this report! Think about that for a second. If LeBron wasn't sure where he'd be after next season, he could have just let it stay out there, after all it's just the words of a 24 year old who had a phone convo with LeBron. In fact, LeBron could swash all this talk about 2010 any time he wants to. He could clear up his long term future, he could sign an extension or at least just say he is going to sign one next year, and maybe Cleveland for the first time in the history of the Cavalier franchise could sign a free agent away from another team that amounts to anything, becuase as we all know, Cleveland has never, ever, ever signed a free agent worth anything at all. But LeBron refuses to do that, and he refuses to even let the idea that he might be staying in Cleveland last more then a couple hours before his people squash that story like a bug.

In fact,
I'm gonna post the words of my man Tommy Dee from The Knicks Blog, who does great work. His take on this issue mirrors mine, and he worded it really well, so there is no use paraphrasing his words when I can attribute him fully.


"...every day that Lebron doesn’t sign his extension is a day in the favor of him finding an address elsewhere. Think about it, the first argument you get from a Cleveland supporter is because he’s from there and they can offer the most money and the second is that the Knicks stink. The second point is to illustrate and hammer home the fact that Lebron craves championships.

Really?

Well, if he wanted a championship, he’d give his team the best chance to win THIS YEAR and the years following. Do you really think that the guy is unhappy that guys like Rasheed Wallace , Ron Artest and Charlie Villanueva , players who could really help him win this year, aren’t there? Don’t you think he would be fuming that his management couldn’t secure any one of them? 

He’s not upset because his wavering is the reason they are not there and he knows it.  

We’re talking about a warrior, and a player who uncharacteristically stormed off the floor without shaking hands with Dwight Howard , which to me was a clear example of how badly he wants to win. He couldn’t stomach the sight of a team celebrating. Right or wrong, he left the floor because that’s how much he wanted to win. He didn’t know what to do when he lost.

So now I’m supposed to believe that his attitude has changed?  That he won’t do everything it takes to bring in the talent to get over that frustrating hump THIS YEAR when no other team  is standing pat?

You want me to believe that he thinks Shaq alone is that player to take him to the promise land?

You want me to believe that Lebron is not giving his team the best chance at a title this year because he wants to “keep his options open” in 2010?

Well I don’t. I didn’t before today and I won’t tomorrow."


Makes you think, doesn't it...

 

Posted on: March 11, 2009 11:24 pm
 

Back to square 1 for the Knicks race for the 8th

Well, the Knicks went a predictable 2-3 in the last 5 game stretch I laid out in my previous blog post, choking vs. the Heat, getting a big win vs. the Hawks, but dropping the big contests vs. the Nets and Blazers before beating the Bucks. When it was all said and done, the Knicks had given up 5 games on the schedule and had lost a bit of ground, falling 2.5 out of the playoffs.

Then a funny thing just happened, the Knicks went into Detroit and got a road win in OT. In all fairness, this is one of the few, if not ONLY, games I remember the Knicks coming from behind to steal this season. Teams have no problem sticking the dagger in the Knicks, but the Knicks finally returned the favor in a trend I hope will continue if the Knicks are going to make the playoffs. This team is due for a couple more fortunate wins.

So what now? The Knicks are just 1.5 games out of the 8th seed as I type, with New Jersey playing the sad Warriors franchise tonight to see if the Knicks are chasing a loggam 1.5 back or the Nets 2 back . But no matter. The Knicks got two left at home vs. New Jersey, that is the team the Knicks want to chase for the 8th seed. Can the Knicks put some more pressure on the 9 (ok, 4) teams they are fighting for to get the playoff birth they so desperately want? Let's check out the upcoming schedule.

The Knicks will continue the "Big East men's tourney seems like it will go on for a fortnight" roadtrip, at Minnesota on Friday (Yea?) and finishing it up Sunday at Cleveland (Boo!). The Knicks really almost have to go 1-1 here to keep the recent momentum going, and since the Knicks are not winning in Cleveland barring a total collapse by Cleveland, this better be the Knicks winning three in a row on the road Friday. Wait, Knicks win 3 straight road games? I really don't like the sound of these next two games.

Then the Knicks go home to host the Nets (big big game) and the Kings (would be a really devistating loss). Assuming the Knicks are a slight favorite vs. the slumping T-Wolves, that is 3 games the Knicks will be favored during in the next 4, 3-1 is very do-able.

A pair of wins at home with a 1-1 end to the road trip would put the Knicks at 30-38. When you objectivly look at the Knicks roster, that's pretty good.

But what value would a 3-1 stretch have in the chase for the playoffs? Not too much. The Knicks would likely still be 1 or 1.5 back after this stretch. And moving forward from next Friday, it's at Orlando at the end of a home-road back to back, Orlando again, the Clips, the Hornets, then a 3 game road stretch vs. Charlotte as the back end of a home-road back to back, and Utah and Denver back to back.

That's 7 games in that last paragraph that the Knicks will be favored only once during. Vegas will have the Knicks going 1-6 after the Kings game and 4-7 overall during the last 11 games of March. Even if the Knicks manage to steal 2 games they should lose during the rest of this month, don't drop any of the 4 they should win, they will end the month a very impressive 6-5 for the last of the month, but a not so strong 33-42 overall.

Where does that get you? Having to win out (7-0) over a difficult April schedule to get to Coach D'Antoni's goal of 40 wins? Having to have a winning record in April to get to 37, which may get you in the playoffs, but may not? John Hollinger has the 8th seed winning 39 games in his latest playoff projections. 39 will probably get the Knicks in IMO. But the Knicks are probably going to win only 34 games according to Hollinger. I agree that 34-48 is the most likely end record for New York.

So what did this win over Detroit mean for the Knicks? It was a win that the Knicks were not expected to get. Now the Knicks have to find 5 more wins just like tonight out of the 11 harder games left on the schedule, all while taking care of business durng the 7 easier games left on the schedule to get the 12 wins needed to get the 8th seed. Any bad loss the Knicks take will mean the Knicks will have to win more games then they lose as an underdog for the rest of the season. They are called underdogs for a reason, because they are likely to lose. Few teams have a winning record over an enlongated stretch of games in which they are the dog.

So my final verdit? It's looking real grim for New York. I'll keep cheering and analyzing the orange and blue. But I'd be lying if I said I won't be paying close attention to any NCAA game later this month with a projected lottery pick in it. The win vs. Detroit was huge tonight. But I still put the Knicks playoff chances at under 10%. At least the Knicks will have Eddy Curry back next season...

Posted on: February 28, 2009 6:05 pm
 

The Knicks last great playoff push begins tonight

The Heat and the Knicks tip off tonight at 7:30 pm EST in Miami, and at first glance the game is rather uninteresting to the casual observer. The Knicks sport a 24-34 record, which is only interesting if you bet the over on 31.5 wins this season for the Knicks. The Heat are 30-27 and look secure in their playoff future. So who should care about this game?

Anybody in the East with playoff hopes that isn't part of the big 3, for starters.

With 23 games after this one, this game really doesn't seem to be a huge deal for the greater playoff picture. But let's face it, the existance of the Knicks in the NBA playoff chase is going to depend entirally on if the Knicks can start beating good teams on the road. The Knicks are just 7-20 away from home, and without playing at least .500 ball on the road to end the season, the Knicks are going to make no noise when the season winds down. The Knicks are 2.5 back of the Bucks and 4.5 back of the Pistons, but Detroit is having a ton of struggles as of late and the Bucks are hanging on by a thread due to key injuries. Teams like the Bulls, Nets, Knicks, and even the Bobcats have their sights set on one or even both of those teams falling out of the playoffs by the time 82 games are played.

So which twenty some win team will reign supreme for the 8th and possibly even 7th playoff spot? The Bulls are a poor road team, but they have played 5 more road games then the Knicks have. The Nets are somehow a good road team and a poor home team, but have a brutal next five games. The Nets will be playing the Hornets, at Milwaukee, Boston, at Orlando, and host the Knicks. Going 2-3 in that stretch will keep the Nets in the playoff race, but going 1-4 with losses to Milwaukee and New York could really undermine the Nets playoff push. That is a tough schedule during which the Nets will only be favored in the last game, vs. New York, and will be sizable dogs in a few of those contests.

So what about the Knicks? Last time the Knicks fell 10 games under .500, they rattled off wins vs. San Antonio and Toronto, but those were at home. This time the Knicks will follow up this road tilt vs. the Heat with games vs. the Hawks and Bobcats at home, then go on the road for the Nets and Bucks. The Knicks as well will only be favored in one of those next 4 games, but unlike the Nets, the Knicks will have a few winnable games in this stretch. The Knicks won't be laying any more then 6 points during any of these contests, and have three of the winnable road tilts that will be vital for any playoff hopes in the Heat, Bucks, and Nets to go along with a game against the Hawks at MSG. What the Knicks do in those games may mean more then any 5 game stretch left for New York.

But this 5 game stretch won't mean squat if the Knicks start it off slowly. A loss to the Heat tonight is going to put all the pressure in the world on the Knicks. They will be staring at the Hawks, and if they don't beat Atlanta, the Knicks will need to win the next three to keep any realistic hopes of gaining a playoff spot alive. With a win tonight, the erratic Knicks gain the breathing room an erratic team like New York could so desperately use.

So who cares about the game tonight? I know I do as much as I have all season long...

 

Posted on: February 18, 2009 11:16 pm
 

Knick Trade Deadline Preview

Well, it's the most important day of the Knicks season tomorrow, the trade deadline. The Knicks got a huge OT win over the Spurs last night to climb to 22-31 and establish that they have the talent to beat very good teams in the Garden, which is the only way that Knicks will get the 8 (or 7 should both Milwaukee and Detroit falter) seed. What will happen? Let's break down the possibilities, in the order I find them to be likely:

1.) Nothing (Big favorite)

This would make me very sad, but I trust Donnie Walsh. Rumors about the Knicks and the deadline are hard to find, but they are out there. David Lee, Nate Robinson, Malik Rose's expiring contract, the Knicks have the chips to make a play. I never believed the Brad Miller rumor, but some of the others I do believe have a chance, and I will get into them later on. But Walsh is committed to the 2010 plan, and any astute Knicks fans knows exactly what that plan is and may not like it, but has learned to love it, because it is the direction of the team. David Lee is not in the Knicks future, he's not worth $10 million in 2010 (more on 2010 in a second). Cap space in 2010 is priority #1, making the playoffs is a goal for this season, but Walsh won't accept even a moderately decent 2010 contract to help the Knicks win right now.

Why not? David Stern vindicated something I pointed out on this board a couple months ago during All Star Weekend. The 2010 cap is coming DOWN, not up. This economic crisis we face as a world is causing the US to enter a period of stag-deflation, where the economy is stagnant with a deflationary enviroment that is going to last YEARS, not months. Look on any major finance webpage, you will see some article that says something like "lower prices likely to stick around". What does this have to do with the NBA? Prices will hold steady, revenue will slightly fade, and the cap is based off revenue numbers. 2009 NBA revenue will set the 2010 cap. 2009 revenue will be less then 2008 revenue. So current contracts that go through 2010 are poision. Walsh understands this, so he will make a deal that fits perfectly into the long term plans of the Knicks (by either helping or not harming 2010 cap space) or he will make no deal at all. Knicks fans that would be sad to see Lee go tomorrow have the wrong idea, and I will get to later.

2.) Malik Rose is dealt for some small amount of help (less then 35% chance)

Malik Rose could add some leadership to a team in need, and help the Knicks pick up a small piece for the rest of this season and maybe 2009. I would love to see Rose dealt for Jerry Stackhouse. Stack is riding pine in Dallas, but he would be the closest thing that D'Antoni would have to a shooting guard if he went to New York. Dallas is fighting for a playoff spot, and a player like Malik Rose can do wonders for team chemistry and he could help the progression of young key Mavs like Brandon Bass. I would get this deal done in a heartbeat if I was in charge, but thankfully for everyone, I am not. But I think this trade is win-win (Note: this trade isn't speculated, it's just something I'd do.)

3.) David Lee is dealt, most likely to Portland (unlikely but possible)

I am a huge David Lee fan, but I would LOVE to see this happen. Why?

a) Lee is not getting traded without a team accepting Eddy Curry's contract. With Eddy Curry off the books, the Knicks are a legit threat to build a real contender in 2010. I would give up the playoffs this season and the entire 2009 season to see the Knicks have the best chance to rebuild. I want my team to be great, not average, not above average, but great. Losing Eddy Curry would do more for the Knicks then winning a playoff series this year and next year would do for the Knicks. The Knicks have the coach, the location, and the atmosphere to make up for a lack of on-court success, but no team has the ability to make up for bad contracts.

b) Lee is NOT coming back next season. He thinks he is worth 10 million a year. He's not to the Knicks. Like it or not, Danilo Gallinari is the Knicks PF of the future. He's Walsh's guy and he's Dantoni's guy. He will get the chance to have a 2009-2010 season like Wilson Chandler is having this season. He will be featured, expected to contribute, and he will be playing serious minutes in 2010, something you can't say about Q-Rich, Harrington, Duhon, or any of the rest of the Knicks for sure at this point. Chandler might be traded next season as an attractive young chip. Nate may or may not be back depending on how much interest he gets in free agency. But Danilo is the one sure fire thing about your 2010 New York Knicks right now. And Danilo is apparently a 4 to D"Antoni and Walsh. Sure, Lee is playing the undersized 5 right now, but it's not just the number, it's the offensive focus that the Knicks will want to transfer off of Lee and take some of that and give it to Gallinari.

c) Moving Curry shows 2010 free agents that Walsh is a skilled enough GM to get out from underneath big problems. If players are worried about coming to New York due to the recent results on the court, having a GM who can work Magic will ease concerns.

4) Nate Robinson moves (15% or so)

Nate for a 2010 first rounder? You can argue strongly the Knicks need the return more then the player, young cheap players are going to be very valuable in 2010 if/when the cap lowers. But Nate will probably not garner such an offer, unless a team hurting for attendence wants to feature KryptoNate. Given the Knicks are already selling KryptoNate green shirts, it seems that the Knicks are going to hold off on any offer for little Nate that doesn't involve a 1st rounder and take their chances letting Nate walk this summer unless the marker for Nate Robinson is so weak this summer that the Knicks would be foolish not to match terms using the 2009 mid-level (He is restricted). Nate is popular with NBA superstars, so he could have value in luring big names to the Garden in 2010, which is worth mentioning. I don't see Nate moving for a player, the Knicks would get (deserved) backlash for that.

5.) Shaq (!!!!!) (It's probably like 1% if that, but it's been speculated and I can draw up a doozy)

Why God why? I don't know. But Shaq seems open to the idea. I don't know what you give up to get Shaq in a deal that would actually happen in a million years, but if somehow the Knicks dealt a package that included Jared Jeffries and got Shaq out of it, I would be all for that. But I doubt that is how it would go down, so it would probably be some dumb trade.

But consider this idea from my head. Phoenix looks really good last night running the D'Antoni system. Jason Richardson is a mental question markafter trying to go 88 in his Delorian in a hospital zone or whatever the heck he did. Shaq does not fit in anymore. Kerr knows he needs to win now to save his hide.

He could get Lee (to help fill the Shaq void), Q-Rich (to be the compliment/insurance policy for Jason Richardson), and maybe extra considerations for Shaq and maybe someone else (lets pretend Hill for the sake of this paragraph). IF Kerr takes on Curry that is! Could it happen? Maybe once in a blue moon.  But if you are Steve Kerr and trying to save your hide, don't you consider this offer for a few minutes. Curry isn't going to play, but you get Lee and Q-Rich, two great up-tempo fits, for Shaq, and maybe you "trick" the Knicks into throwing in little Nate or something. Phoenix all of a sudden looks really really tough. Nash/J. Richardson/Q. Richardson/Lee/STAT? Scary! And maybe a Barbosa/Barnes/lttle Nate/Z-Bo's white puncihg bag bench? You can compete this year, right? Steve Nash, two great spot up shooters with a bit of inversion post game, and two guys to run the pick and roll with that have a bit of pick and pop range? This is a good team!

Meanwhile the Knicks laugh and laugh as someone traded for Curry, and Shaq keeps the Garden entertained until the summer of 2010. I mean this is a no-brainer for the Knicsk to pull off. The only question is how desperate Kerr is and if Walsh thinks to try it.

6.) Stephon Marbury is dealt

Psyche! So not happening. Nobody wants this clown. My Mavs fan friend says he would do Starbury for Kidd, but he's probably the only one who would offer that, and that is one of the few trades the Knicks would do for Starbury, and it's not happening, nor is any other trade. I just wanted to laugh at Starbury's plight a bit.

That's my opinion on what will happen in the next 14 hours. I honestly expect a quiet deadline. But I will be watching and keeping hope alive Donnie pulls off a master stroke.

Posted on: January 30, 2009 8:15 pm
 

Knicks after 45: 20-25 with 30 questions

1.) Knicks fans are excited about their chances for the playoffs. Playoffs? Are you kidding me? Playoffs?

The Knicks can sole position of the 8th seed tonight with a Bucks and Nets loss. The Knicks are 7-3 in thier last 10 games and are somehow 3rd in the Atlantic. They are playing some pretty good ball right now, but playoffs?

Not so fast, my friends. John Hollinger's simulations of the season from this point on show the Knicks have the 4th best chance to get in the playoffs of the 5 teams going for the 8th seed. Toronto is considered the favorite, with Milwaukee, Charlotte, and Indiana ahead of the Knicks, and only Chicago behind the Knicks.

2.) But what if the Knicks add at the deadline?

It could happen, but it would be because of a fortunate subtraction, not addition to help the Knicks win first and foremost. David Lee and Nate Robinson are expiring, and the Knicks will be over the cap in 2009. If the Knicks deal either or both, it could lead to a great player joining the fold, but how long would it take them to learn the D'Antoni system? And how long would be too long? One way or another, the Knicks making a move at the deadline has a greater chance to harm the 2008 -2009 playoff chances then it does to increase them.

3.) Can the Knicks maintain this solid play of the last 10 games?

Let me see how simple I can say this. Yes. Danilo has been shockingly efficient by some statistical measures, maybe not all of his own doing, but his rotation unit has been superb and the Knicks look fresher for having him in the mix. Nate Robinson is picking his game up a notch from where it was before his slump to where it is now after the slump is broken. Chris Duhon is about to get a lot of rest during All-Star Weekend (outside that Nate will probably take him with him to Phoenix to throw him some oops). This current Knicks team can stay this good.

4.) Can the Knicks compete with the best in the league?

Ummm, maybe. They have beat the Hornets and the C's. The Knicks next week host the Lakers, Cavs, and Celtics in what has to be a top 3 most brutal 3 game homestand in the NBA during this decade (if not the most brutal). Can the Knicks win 1 of these games? Sure, the Knicks are decent at home, enough you would expect them to have a roughly 1 in 3 chance against any of these teams at the Garden. Do the Knicks need to win 1 of these 3? Well...

5.) How big is Saturday's game against Indiana?

In my opinion, huge. The Knicks will be well rested, having last played Wednesday, and the Pacers have to host the Heat tonight. The Knicks have to get a road win against a team they are competing against for the 8th seed in a favorable spot if they expect to be a serious contender for the playoffs.

6.) What is your assessment of Mike D'Antoni?

A fantastic hire. I could not be more thrilled.

7.) But I hear everyone on the NBA board talk about how the Knicks and D"Antoni don't care about defense. So why is he good?

All I ever hear the Knicks talk about, read the Knicks talking about, and see D'Antoni coaching up is defense. Do you think Jared Jeffries is starting for the Knicks because of his crappy jumpshot that he airballs every other time? This team cares about stops and is learning how to get them.

8.) What do the Knicks have to do better to compete against good teams?

Everything not named teamwork, camaraderie, free throw shooting, and hustle

9.) Care to be more specific?

Rebounding, shot selection, transition defense, being smart with double teams, defensive rotation, and silly turnovers

10.) Who needs to step their game up?

The Knicks are at their best when Tim Thomas is giving the Knicks productive minutes off the bench and Q-Rich gets off to a great start. Q-Rich needs to continue to go down to the blocks where he has been effective over the last two weeks and force teams to respect him, and get assists off the block. Al Harrington needs to be more consistent. Jared Jeffries needs to learn how to play basketball. Nate Robinson needs to use his speed on defense more to stay in front of people and needs to be smarter on rotations. Danilo Gallinari needs to learn how the NBA refs call a game and cut down on his fouls. David Lee needs to shoot more, specifically drive more. He should take 15-17 shots a game, not 12. Wilson Chandler needs to work on shot selection and continue to improve on the defensive end instead of being a guy who looks for blocks and steals.

11.) Who doesn't need to step their game up?

Chris Duhon is giving the Knicks everything he has. Clyde Frazier is doing a great job in the booth. Jerome James is riding the pine like a champion of freedom and justice.

12.) Why wasn't David Lee an All-Star?

The East picked 7 reserves better then Lee, irrespective of record. Lee is getting really good on the offensive end but is still just 35.3% on his jumpers this season and the Knicks pace inflates his stats to some degree. The full package is coming for Lee, but it's not here yet.

13.) How do you know Lee is 35.3% on his jumpers?

I got crazy information finding skills.

14.) Awesome.

That's not a question. Try again.

14.) Will Lee break the Knicks streak of no All-Stars next season?

If Donnie Walsh finds a way to keep Lee and maintain his focus on luring multiple superstars to New York for the 2010 class, it would be a coup and one of the finest jobs by a GM in recent memory. But Lee has made less then 4 million over his 4 years in the league, and could get as much as 8-9 million a season in this offseason, and the Knicks can only afford to sign him to about 5 million. So I don't forsee Lee in the blue and orange next year.

15.) Who could be the Knicks next All-Star?

LeBron James in 2010.

16.) You just did that to piss off all the Cavs fans because you hate them all, didn't you?

I like M1ghty Mouse. But for the most part, yes. It's also true.

17.) Back to this season. Are there reasons to expect a strong finish from some specific Knicks?

Al Harrington and Quentin Richardson are playing with a player option for 2009. With a strong finish to the season, both may opt out and join a light free agent class. The best way for them to get paid is to get some stats and help the Knicks win. Two key cogs in a contract year is a good thing. Nate Robinson is a restricted free agent after this year and is in the same boat. Contract years are always helpful for production. Obviously Lee is a restricted free agent too, but I don't think he has much more he can give night in and night out.

18.) Talk a little more about your boy Wilson Chandler. What do you think of him?

He has rebounded nicely as of late from a slump. He needs to get a little bigger, he struggles from the arc but has a pretty 19 foot jumper. I would like to see him get more aggressive, he has had some highlight reel drives this season but does not do it nearly often enough. His defense is growing but he faces tough matchups very often when defending a 3 and is getting a trial by fire at the defensive end. Overall I am optimistic he can still develop into a 16 ppg scorer by the end of the 2009-2010 season.

19.) All you ever do in your blog is rehash old stuff and then talk possible trades because you are an NBA Trade Machine addict, then pick the Knicks to lose but cover. So what trade do you think Donnie Walsh might make at the deadline?

Nate Robinson for a first rounder and a junk matching expiring contract is my best guess.

20.) Why God why trade 15.5 ppg for a 1st rounder?

Because Nate is not in the Knicks long term plans best I can tell, and the Knicks will need some young players to fill out a roster in 2010 when they tie up a majority of their salary cap in two superstars.

21.) I don't like that trade. What could the Knicks do to help the team?

If the NBA gets to working and decides on the Knicks pending request for a $4.45 million disabled player exemption for Cuttino Mobley, the Knicks could add salary with no problems of matching contracts.

22.) Ok, can you do some master stroke and tie these last few points together and make Knicks fans happy?

Knicks get the disabled player exemption. Knicks trade Nate Robinson for a 1st rounder. Knicks use the exemption to deal the 1st rounder picked up for Mike Conley or or use it in a salary dump and get Raymond Felton and Boris Diaw for Lee and Jeffries and the aforementioned 1st rounder.

23.) What? Why do the Knicks do either of those deals?

That's two questions, so it counts as #24 as well. To answer what?, you heard me. And to answer why?, Conley has an affordable team option in 2010 and would be a nice cheap roster addition for 2010, he adds some NBA experience to the projected 2010 players that aren't superstars and has upside. And the Felton/Diaw for Jeffries/Lee, well D'Antoni loves Diaw for some reason, he's a much better player then Jeffries, and if the Knicks have to eat salary in 2010, they would rather it was a player like Diaw then one like Jeffries. So it's a moderate improvement over the current future of the Knicks, albeit at the cost of Lee, but Lee is going to be a loss at some point, the question is will the Knicks get anything out of him? And Diaw may be tradable in 2009, something that Jeffries is unlikely to be, so he is an easier salary dump.

25.) I'm not convinced. Can you convince me these are good deals for the Knicks?

I'm not convinced this is in the best interest of the Knicks either. But it's not NBA 2k9. You can't make trades you love every time. Sometimes you have to make baby steps and accept the fact that star young players are bolting New York after this season along with a couple good vets if Harrington and Q-Rich opt out.

26.) What is your predicted record for the last 37 games of the season?

17-20

27) Will 37-45 make the playoffs?

It's a total toss up to me at this point. Toronto and Indiana I expect will have about 37 wins at the end of the year as well.

28) If the Knicks get in the playoffs, can they win a game?

Yes, as long as you keep it singular. This team doesn't have the players to beat a #1 seed on the road.

29) If the Knicks just miss the playoffs, will they win the lottery?

Not unless I see the big plastic tumbler from 1985 brought back

30) Why did you bother to make up 30 questions and answer them all about a 20-25 team?

BLEED ORANGE AND BLUE!

Posted on: January 21, 2009 4:03 pm
 

Review/Preview: Knicks 102-98 CHI, Wed NYK vs PHO

Well, the Knicks only managed a split with the Wizards instead of a much needed sweep of the back to back, choking down the stretch in Washington. Then the Knicks again choked down the stretch vs. Philly. Things looked dire as the Bulls strolled into the Garden for MLK Day.

Review: New York Knicks 102-98 Chicago Bulls

- Danilo Gallinari has me very excited, and I won't temper it. He can score, he can pass, he is for sure raw, but most of all he CAN DEFEND. He needs to bulk up some but wow, what a difference the #6 pick of the draft can make.

- The Knicks won the turnover battle 17-11 and held the Bulls to 4-17 shooting from the arc. Maybe "hold" is the wrong word, since the Bulls missed some easy looks, but who am I to argue?

- Chris Duhon proved he was a gamer, playing in obvious pain all game. I can see why his Bulls teammates were not happy when his minutes were cut during his time in Chicago, he is the kind of guy any player in the Association would like to play along with.

- Tim Thomas did a lot more then the box score let on, the Knicks were +9 with him in the game. If he can stay healthy and give the Knicks a 9 man rotation, it will be interesting to see how the 4th quarters go in the second half of the season.

Preview: New York Knicks (+6) vs Phoenix Suns, Wed 7:30 pm EST

I don't fully believe in Phoenix, true. But they are pretty good on the road this year. The Knicks hung with Phoenix in Phoenix earlier in the year, and Phoenix has guard play that will let up some points. Duhon will have to work both the pick and roll and the drive and dish vs. Phoenix, who has the trees to disrupt Lee's offensive game. J-Rich loves the kill the Knicks but hopefully the big bodies being back for the Knicks will put some height on Richardson. Will Jeffries guard him? I woudln't be shocked...

Knicks-centric stats match-up:

Again: Since the Knicks are a team that runs the D'Antoni offense, posting typical team offensive/defensive stats is pretty silly. I will use offensive and defensive efficiency, a.k.a. how many points a team scores and allows per 100 possessions. Hopefully this will give people a better idea on how teams will stack up against the unique style the Knicks offer.


Knicks on offense:

Knicks offensive efficiency: 102.9 points/100 (20th in the NBA)
Suns defensive efficiency: 106.4 points/100 (t-23rd in the NBA)

Knicks on defense:

Suns offensive efficiency: 108.9 points/100 (4th in the NBA)
Knicks defensive efficiency: 107.1 points/100 (26th in the NBA)

Psst! Hey Donnie Walsh!

Previously done for the Suns..


Knicks Prediction:

Nate Robinson is getting well overdue to blow up on somebody. What better place then MSG, what better time then tonight?


Knicks 109-Phoenix 104 (season record: 10-2 straight up, 5-7 ATS)

Thanks for reading!

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com