Posted tagged ‘Knicks’

Making Sense of the NBA Off-Season

July 14, 2008

First off, sorry for the hiatus…life has been hectic.  But no matter how busy things get, Ive always got a finger on the pulse of the sports world, especially the part of it that interest me most: the NBA.

Its hard for me to write about sports in a coherent way, because I get excited and have too many thoughts about the same topic.  So, here goes:

The Clippers have to be bummed about losing Elton Brand, big time.  Sterling was trying to shake his image as the tight-wad owner by signing Baron Davis to a big deal (though impressively shrewd), and after he did that no one thought Brand would seriously give up the chance to play with a top PG.  Brand didnt even really get more money than what was offered.  I understand business is business and Brand has to look out for himself, but Im disappointed by how he handled this because since he got the same money than LA was willing to give him, he must have had other reasons for leaving for Philly, probably cuz it was a competitive playoff squad last year without him and figures to be a conference contender with him…but i think he went out his way to make the Clips think he was gonna resign and encouraged them to sign another player who he could contend with in LA, and after they did what he asked for, he still bolted.  I’m not hating him for playin the game, but when he does youve got to call him a playa. Maybe Im biased cuz now Philly is gonna dominate the division that my beloved Knicks will serve as a doormat to.

Yes, Philly will dominate the Atlantic because Toronto is overrated and NJ is in it for the green, not the gold.  The Toronto trade of a TJ Ford, one half of the most productive PG platoon in the league for a broken and beat up Jermaine ONeal who is making something like $42 million the next 2 years alone is not a good deal.  TJ Ford is agreat player and they couldve gotten more for him.  If ONeal returns to full strength and plays the defense he was playing a few years ago, then the trade will have been a good one, but I think that it way too improbable for the Raptors to bank on.  

NJ traded Richard Jefferson for Yi Jianlin for the SOLE pourpose of cashing in on his popularity in his native country of China and opening up the market in order to lure LeBron in 2 years.  Pitiful.  So now they have Yi, no Jason Kidd, no RJ, and a player in Vince Carter who will be in the first year of a rich multi-year contract…oh yea, he’ll play with tONS of trademark tenacity.  They have some decent rookies but they are still gonna stink it up for a while.

I like Washington giving Arenas his money because you never have to worry about his motivation to play hard — he’s too cocky to let his rep suffer.  To think…Rashard Lewis got a contract worth $15 million more than Arenas.  That is nuts.

Bur Lewis’ Orlando squad was good last year and will be better with newly signed and underrated Mickael Pietrus, who can guard the perimeter and shoot the 3-ball.

Dallas gave Dasagna Diop something like $30 million to resign with them. ¿¿¿WTF???  The dude does nothing but block a shot or 2 a game and he gets $30 million? I dont get that. Nor do I understand the Bucks giving Andrew Bogut $72.5 million (!) to stay in Milwaukee, and then trade Yi and his Chinese fan base for Jefferson only to then draft Joe Alexander, who plays the same position.  They shouldve saved 72 million by letting Bogut go, drafted Brooke Lopez who was the top center prospect in the draft but gets paid rookie money, an then put themselves in position to be a major player in free agency with all that money and a promising young core of Michael Redd, Jefferson, Lopez, Mo Williams, Charlie Villanueva and Charlie Bell.  Tell me they couldnt have gotten a top free agent to join that squad!  They couldve signed Emeka Okafor who is a top defensive center (perfect for coach Scott Skiles and the new defense oriented style he will surely implement) for way less than 72 million.  This is maddening to me.

Golden State losing out on Davis and Brand has to hurt, and no, signing Corey Maggette does not ease the pain.  I like him as a scorer because he gets to the line (hes insane at drawing fouls. In a  healthy season most fans would be surprised to learn that Maggette gets to the line more than almost any other player in the league — 3rd most in 06-07) which puts a lot of pressure on the opposing defense and makes things easier on his teammates, who can be more aggressive against defenders in foul trouble or a team in the penalty.  But he’s not a facilitator, he needs the ball in his hands and doesnt make much of a difference on defense.  He could be a great complimentary player, to say, Elton Brand..or..Baron Davis. Yes Warriors fans, it’s time to worry.  At least they seem committed to keeping Monta Ellis, who is restricted and crazy talented, but theyre gonna end up overpaying Andris Biedrins big time so they can have at least one decent big man in the lineup.  Im not so crazy about Chris Mullin’s personnel moves, I gotta say. 

As for the Clips, who knows what to expect.  I dont think theyll make the playoffs next season with the lineup they have.  GS didnt make it last year and they had a better and more cohesive lineup than LA has this year..so far at least.  Al Thornton will continue to impress, Kaman is a good 5 and Davis is nasty when healthy, but that he played 82 games in his contract year does not mean that he will go the distance again now that he has a brand new contract and is closer to his Hollywood homies trying to convince him to focus on his film production company (Davis is a member of the screen actors guild).  I think the Clips are back to being the Clips that we know and love to not care about.

Not basing this on the one preseason game he played, I think Beasely is gonna make a loT of people feel stupid for saying he did not deserve to be picked first in this year’s draft.  That kid has something to prove but wont even be the 3rd best player on his team, so the spotlight is not on him and he can just play the game.  Rookie of the Year, write that shit down.

As for my beloved Knicks, it’s too early to write a seaon preview but I like the Gallinari draft, I guess, kinda sorta, because the obviously better players were off the board, the other impressive talents did not fit team needs at all (Jerryd Bayless), and Gallinari isnt the typical young European “project”.  This kid has been a star in very competitive and heavily scouted European leagues, already knows how to play the game, has guts and size and shooting skills, and most importantly, if there is anyone who is qualified enough to determine whether or not a Euro league player can make the transition to the NBA, its Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni. 

If Gallinari develops, D’Antoni can work his offensive magic to get Curry and Randolph to be productive, and the Knicks do something smart with the many, many millions coming off the books this year, NYK can compete for a low playoff seed while working it’s way out of the tangled mess known as Isiah Thomas’ legacy.  After 7 years of ineptitude, I am a humble and patient man.

Catch a glimpse of Gallinari in action here:

Isiah Thomas Replaced, and Now My Dog Won’t Die

April 2, 2008

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After 5+ years of doing everything in his power to DESTROY BASKETBALL IN NEW YORK, Isiah Thomas’ reign of darkness as general manager of the Knicks is finally over. Holy crap that feels good to say.  The Knicks are and always will be my favorite sports team, and I have stuck with them through thick and thin, but this season in particular has been the greatest test of loyalty I have ever faced in my 14 years as a Knicks fan.  Not only are the Knicks on their way to the first 60-loss season in the history in their storied history, but the amount of  embarrassments suffered by members of the organization on and off the court this year has greatly contributed to an atmosphere in Knicks-Universe that can be described only as PUTRID.  Putrid as in a dead dog carcass infested with colonies of maggots that you walk by on the side of the road but smelled the block before, and upon passing realized it was your dog.  Now imagine that instead of the carcass being on the side of the road so that you can simply hold your breath and walk by it, the carcass is in the middle of a 5×5 concrete cell that you are locked into, seemingly with no hope of escape.  Now imagine that a crazy inmate breaks free from his cell and pulls the latch that opens all the cells in the prison complex that your cell is in.  Your gate opens, and you thrust yourself towards the exit in one great leap..but then you stop short behind the the steel gate and latch onto the bars, unconsciously clinching them with all of your might, your body trembling as you try to come to terms with the decision your heart has already made for you…that you love that God-forsaken dog and you would never leave it, even though you could, even though the other selfish opportunistic inmates encourage you to do so and chide you as a fool for not running away and being a Nets fan while you had the chance.  Then they all run away, leaving you to wallow in your misery, knowing that, open gates or not, you never seriously thought about trying to escape…but then suddenly you close your eyes and push back the tears that have welled up by remembering that you never really wanted to, because you LOVE that freaking dog. You love it, Goddamit, and you don’t care who knows it, and it may stink all to be damned and make your skin crawl at the very sight of it, but you still can’t imagine yourself going anywhere without it.

Well, the Knicks were that dog, and I, along with the 12 other true DIEHARD Knicks fans remaining in the world, was that inmate.  The other inmates encouraging you to leave were the parasitic band-wagon-jumping fake Knicks fans who double as your friends in between games. Isiah Thomas was the flesh eating virus that was tearing the dog apart. Jim Dolan, the idiot owner of the Knicks, was the evil corrupted psycho veterinarian that injected the virus into the dog, and gave the virus a CONTRACT EXTENSION last year so that it could do even more damage. isiah-spoof.jpg

I don’t want to jump to any conclusions about Donnie Walsh, Thomas’ replacement, by hailing him as some kind of messiah who can resurrect the Knicks from the dead… I dunno, maybe he’ll be like the blonde cheerleader from Heroes who has the ability to heal herself, and Donnie could give the Knicks some of his super-healing blood and help resuscitate the franchise (I think that’s a more fair comparison..the cheerleader is pretty, but I still think Jesus is more impressive – raising the dead ain’t as easy as it sounds).

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Here is a very quick completely unresearched regurgitation of why Isiah Thomas was the most horrible GM in the history not just of GMs but rather in the history of all living organisms:

-the Jared Jeffries contract

-the Malik Rose trade

-the Tim Thomas trade (KVH had less years left..i think)

-being the only GM in the NBA dumb enough to trade for Jalen Rose, giving up a huge expiring contract in the process, only to promptly WAIVE HIM and eat almost the entire contract when it itself was about to expire and provide a huge trading chip (!!!!!)

-acquiring Marbury and Hardaway only cuz Thomas saw himself in Marbury…then trading the HUGE expiring contract of Penny Hardaway for STEVE FRANCIS’ HUGE contract…then later trading Steve Francis’ HUGE EXPIRING contract for Zach Randolph’s HUGE long-term contract (!!!!)

-giving up great draft pics for Eddy Curry, who Isiah doesn’t even give minutes to anymore

-Hiring Larry Brown and giving him the richest coaching contract in the NBA. He was terrible fit for the Knicks and for Thomas, as Brown has a short fuse and needed to have total roster control, which Thomas would never be willing to relinquish, and subsequently firing Brown for a bullshit contract violation and but paying him most of the money anyway, as ruled by an arbitrator.

-The Anucha Brown Sanders sexual harassment trial (“all I did was put my arms around her and ask her for a kiss, and then she pushed me away and I said, what ‘Nuche, no love?”  What a jerk.)

-the planned attack on Carmelo Anthony that resulted in a brawl and several lengthy suspensions.  It was symbolic of Thomas’ dirty style of play as a former player the lack of integrity he exhibits as a person, and set a horrible example for a team loaded with rookies who worshipped him.

-the JEROME JAMES signing. (I just threw up a little)

jerome-james.jpg Stop staring at me, you slow, chunky bastard.

 The crazy thing is I probably forgot at least 10 other huge bonehead moves.  Donnie Walsh will exhibit the fiscal responsibility Thomas had absolutely no regard for and implement a long-term, team-oriented philosophy rather than go after the biggest name on the market every season.  And unless Jim Dolan gets in the way, Walsh will also relieve Thomas of his responsibilities as coach of the Knicks, and then file a restraining order stating that Isiah Thomas must remain at a distance from the Knicks that is no closer to New York than the great sovereign nation of Tibet, in the hopes that Thomas will not know that Tibet is not a sovereign nation and will thus wander in search of it even farther east and into China, where he will ask a Chinese politician for directions to the great sovereign nation of Tibet and subsequently be arrested and subjected to Chinese Water Torture (this video is funny because I think having to hang out with those girls is actually worse than real Chinese Water Torture), and since the media in China is censored it will never make it onto Google and the world will forget about Thomas and years he tried to destroy the Knicks.

I think I just saw my dog open his eyes.  

I am proud to say that I stayed behind to be there when it did.

Let’s go Knicks!

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