Cleveland Cavaliers

In the wake of the new CBA in the NBA, fear not, big market fans. The war between have and ‘have not’ owners has passed, and there can be no better indicator that the big markets made out smashingly well than the Knicks’ acquisition of C Tyson Chandler, the prize of this free agent class. The amnesty provision that the Knicks employed to gain the maneuverability to sign Chandler to a 58M contract when they were totally tapped out by walking away from the 14M contract of Chauncey Billups, provided they were willing to write him a check for that amount, is surely a clause that deep pocketed teams will be way more willing to use to their benefit than the smaller market teams who took such a hard line during the lockout that they forced.

Begs the question: why such histrionics in the first place? Well, as astute observers of labor disputes in sport, we did kind of agree with Billy Hunter’s assertion that the league was trying to break the players, behind a core of small market owners like Michael Jordan, lead hypocrite, who wanted the lockout to stretch on to the point where the players were feeling the impact of missed paychecks. So why abandon course in favor of a compromise that more favored the Knicks than the Kings, Celtics than Cavs?

Because Stern’s public stance that 15 or so clubs were losing money was so obviously no more than just a posture. If the Charlotte Bobcats aren’t willing to pay Ray Felton 7.5M per for 2 years, the 27/28 truly healthy teams around the league can not pay the price for it. If Lebron and Bosh won’t re-up or up with Cleveland, then Stern in his infinite wisdom can not negotiate a CBA that alters Cleveland’s geography and ethnic demography.

Look at the Memphis Grizzlies. They heaped money on Rudy Gay and Mike Conley, absorbed the huge deal of Zach Randolph, and are poised to now lavish 70M or more on Marc Gasol. They aren’t exactly hurting.

The new CBA did as much for small markets as it could have. By making top tier free agent movement essentially prohibitive financially to the player by limiting salary and term, the deal ensures that most sensible players will be traded for prime assets rather than seeing them flee in FA, getting way more in return than they would in an after thought sign and trade. That’s as far as they can go. The league does not have the ability to restrict player movement beyond that.

They put franchises in places like Minnesota in the first place, and were happy to carve up the franchise initiation fees, but they can’t make players want to be there. As for the Knicks, you have to respect the Chandler move, which brings to the club the elements they lack: size, toughness, shot blocking, rebounding and post defense. You’d have to respect the move for both the creativity and the cost, when compared to say, Nene, at 70M for 4 years. And for their ability to recognize that Paul wasn’t getting done and for seamlessly and successfully changing gears and getting this done.

The Knicks do have a passable player in Toney Douglass at the point, and with Billups out a good bit, TD has plenty of experience in the lead. He should see a lot of open looks, and with he and Chandler starting, they look like a better defensive club. Iman Shumpert, drafted on the strength of his defense, may now see some time at point guard as well, which we’d prefer to Bibby getting significant minutes.

Weak at two guard, the Knicks are in talks to bring back Jamal Crawford, who would be a great addition. Should that trade go down, expect Landry Fields to go the other way. Knicks GM Glen Grunwald just told Mike Francesa that the team will soon announce the signing of Jerome Jordan, and that they are still hoping to bring back Shawne Williams, who resuscitated his career with the Knicks. Grunwald also boasted that NY will have a 5M and a 2M exception available next season, and a 2.5M exception available right now.

As for the Nets, if they did speak to Dwight Howard on Thursday without permission, the Magic should file tampering charges. Can’t the Nets simply text D12’s entourage, like every other team?

Crack (

Legitimate prime time player, Amar’e Stoudemire of the New York Knicks (above).

Amare Stoudemire  #1  PF
2010-11 STATS
26.5 9.4 2.1

In the summer, we called Amar’e Stoudemire the “consolation prize” of the NBA dream team free agent class.  And when the new Knick centerpiece tweeted in August that he was in Israel of all places because he just learned of his Hebrew ancestry, well, if that’s the prerogative of a $100M man, so be it, but our reaction to that was that not only was he a consolation prize, but that he also might be a clown.  Our initial reaction was that the Knicks got themselves a “me” player with creaky knees who got rich, figuratively and literally off the exquisite, ball on a string, play making mastery of Steve Nash.  Our reaction upon seeing the Israel tweet was more along the lines of “Oh Jesus.”

When the Knicks got out 3-8, not only was it expected by us, but we were giddy at all the D’antoni job security articles, and readying the bubbly for our own little D’antoni firing party.  We had even marked the team through the first 34 games of their schedule, figuring they’d give D’antoni and his stupid offense at least 30 games with the new roster before Dolan gave the order to Donnie Wheelchair to pull the plug on the Italian with the affinity for matador defense.  But then something very out of the ordinary began to happen.  The Knicks started winning.  In fact, they reeled off 13 out of 14 wins, elevating the team’s record to a wholly respectable 16-9.  And we said, “Who kidnapped our awful Knicks?”

Stoudemire did–the consolation prize.  He’s taken the other Knicks which include a 6’11 Italian 3 point specialist, a talented but unconventional g/f stuck out of position, a rookie 2nd round pick expected to guard an elite scorer every night, and a talented but inconsistent point guard, had them hop on his back while the man carried them all, posting clutch fourth quarter after clutch fourth quarter like Bernard King did once upon a time, before he injured his knee.  Stoudemire has actually flourished in the marquis role and has Raymond Felton looking a lot more like Nash than um, Raymond Felton, along side Gerald Wallace in Charlotte.  And so delighted have Knicks fans been with Felton that there is way more talk about extending Felton than there is of packing him off for Chris Paul.

Likely, Donnie Wheelchair makes some moves to solidify the…pause…most improved team in the league and gets some more reinforcements in here for Stoudemire, before the guy drops from over-use, as he gives 44+ minutes a night to the team.  Then there’s Stoudemire’s sidelight as the Knicks’ assistant coach/heavy, which can not be understated.  Stoudemire has been the most vocal guy in the organization–the only guy–to preach defense this year, and he has chided the team about the importance of striving for constant improvement, staying level, and always trying to get the “next one.”

And when I heard that Stoudemire had dogged his own teammate in the wake of Saturday’s horrific OT loss in Cleveland to the D-league’s new franchise called the Cavaliers–in a menacing way no less–I removed my own consolation prize tag and put in my vote, all but meaningless, for Stoudemire as league MVP.

“Yo Ray!”  Stoudemire called to Felton in the locker room after the Cleveland debacle on Saturday.  “How does a one play 23 minutes and get no dimes (assists)?  No dimes, Ray?!”  Stoudemire asked loudly about backup lead guard Toney Douglass, who dressed a few feet away.  Hold on a sec…you mean to tell me that Stoudemire reads the stat sheet right after games and doesn’t just look for his own name?  And that he is actually upset after a loss?

This guy was a bargain at $100M.  After about 800 meaningless Knicks’ games, to watch a few that matter again has been priceless.  Don’t be fooled.  Pretty much, it’s Amar’e and only Amar’e we have to thank for it.  We’re happy to be wrong about this guy.  Couldn’t be happier.  And from here forward, we give the Knicks’ captain permission to travel anywhere he wants in the off season.  Clearly, he knows what he’s doing.  He’ll even make an unselfish player yet out of Toney D., something D’antoni wasn’t able to do with one of our favorites, Nate Robinson, now a Celtic due to that failure.

Crack (,    

Lakers backup shooting guard Shannon Brown (above).

The Knicks, who seem to be in the mix to acquire the services of Portland point guard Rudy Fernandez, may also be attempting to improve their off guard position t0night as well, as several sources have reported that New York has made an offer to two time NBA Champion and Lakers backup guard, Shannon Brown.

Reports are surfacing the New York Knicks have made an offer to Lakers free agent shooting guard Shannon Brown.

The terms of the deal are still unknown.

At this point, Brown has two options: Take the offer from the Knicks, or wait and see if the Lakers can trade Sasha Vujacic so that he can resign with the two time defending champions.

Brown, a first round pick in 2006 by the Cleveland Cavaliers (25th overall), played 3 years collegiately at Michigan State.  Here’s a look at Brown’s professional regular season statistics:

Career Season Averages
06-07 CLE 23 5 8.8 0.378 0.280 0.714 0.3 0.7 0.9 0.4 0.3 0.1 0.61 1.04 3.2
07-08 CHI 6 0 3.7 0.200 0.000 0.500 0.2 0.2 0.3 0.0 0.2 0.3 0.83 0.33 1.5
07-08 CLE 15 4 14.5 0.369 0.310 0.609 0.3 0.9 1.2 1.1 0.7 0.1 1.27 1.80 7.0
08-09 LAL 18 0 7.6 0.524 0.667 0.889 0.2 0.9 1.1 0.6 0.2 0.1 0.50 0.50 3.2
08-09 CHA 30 0 11.4 0.455 0.286 0.800 0.3 0.5 0.8 0.9 0.6 0.2 0.97 1.10 4.8
09-10 LAL 82 7 20.7 0.427 0.328 0.818 0.4 1.9 2.2 1.3 0.7 0.4 0.82 1.57 8.1
Career 174 16 15.0 0.421 0.327 0.778 0.3 1.2 1.5 1.0 0.6 0.2 0.82 1.29 6.1

Brown’s playoff stats:

06-07 CLE 1 0 0.0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.00 0.00 0.0
08-09 LAL 21 0 13.1 0.434 0.480 0.792 0.4 0.8 1.2 0.6 0.5 0.1 0.48 1.29 4.9
09-10 LAL 23 0 14.1 0.393 0.281 0.714 0.3 1.0 1.3 0.9 0.4 0.3 0.57 1.61 4.9
Career 45 0 13.3 0.411 0.368 0.750 0.3 0.9 1.2 0.7 0.4 0.2 0.51 1.42 4.8

Shannon Brown is not an unrestricted free agent.  As a restricted free agent, the Lakers have 7 days to match any offer the Knicks made to their bench player, who some think fits well as a shooter in Mike D’antoni’s system.  Brown is a 42 % 3 point shooter in his career. 

This summer Brown has tried to get a deal done with the Lakers, with his asking price being the NBA’s average salary, which is about $ 3.5 M.  Brown made $ 2.388 M last season.  Though the terms of the offer are not yet known, one could imagine the Knicks using a portion of their mid level exception on Brown, likely in the neighborhood of 2 years/$ 8 M.

It would be insane for the Knicks to commit more years than that to Brown (but the Knicks have done stranger things), who most likely, would like to see this offer matched and remain a Laker, but who could not pass up on the pay raise.

Also, an arrest warrant was issued in Illinois for Knicks’ center Eddy Curry earlier.

A Cook County judge ordered an arrest warrant for Curry after learning that the Knicks bust “failed to sign an agreement to pay the balance of a $660,000 legal settlement reached after he was sued for allegedly having sex with an underage girl,” the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

The case goes back to 2001 when Curry, then 18, reportedly had a relationship with a 14-year-old girl.

Last month, another arrest warrant was filed and later quashed when Curry and a woman agreed on a payment schedule for the $100,000 the oft-injured center owed her.

“Knicks’ bust” Eddy Curry…gotta love the label.  Curry did not show up to the Knicks’ summer league in Las Vegas despite having his best opportunity in light years to win a significant role on a basketball team. 

–Crack (

If new Knicks’ power forward and $ 100 M man Amar’e Stoudemire (directly above) thought he’d be playing for Team USA at the World Championships next month and chilling on the Dream Team’s bench at the elbows and in the ears of the best America has to offer, then he couldn’t have been happy when the Knicks told the centerpiece of their rebuilding project this week that they were denying him permission to play. 

The Knicks informed their new power forward Monday night, just days after Stoudemire tweeted: “There isn’t anything that would stop me from playing for the U.S.”

Stoudemire was disappointed but accepted the decision, according to team president Donnie Walsh, who wasn’t willing to risk his free-agent prize on a 15-day tournament in Turkey. The U.S. team opened training camp Tuesday in Las Vegas.

“He really wanted to play but understood our position,” said Walsh, who added that Stoudemire needed more rest after playing through the end of May in the Western Conference finals. “He was a man about it.”

Stoudemire’s agent, Happy Walters, did not return a phone call.

Insured players typically don’t need permission to compete for national teams, but Stoudemire’s contract wasn’t covered because of his medical rap sheet. Microscopic surgery on his left knee in 2005 and a detached retina in 2009, among other health issues, have limited the 27-year-old to only three 82-game seasons in his eight-year career. Durability was a major reason the Suns declined to offer Stoudemire a max contract, even after he was named to four consecutive All-Star teams and played every game last season.

Stoudemire, the only top tier free agent the Knicks have managed to acquire this off-season, albeit one near the bottom of the top tier, was one of only 5 players this month to earn a contract at $100 M or more.  But Stoudemire’s 2005 microfracture surgery makes his contract uninsurable.  The Knicks are still reminded of the last mistake they made on an uninsurable player because that player is on the roster and a constant eyesore–Eddy Curry.  Isiah Thomas signed Curry to a $56 M/7 yr deal in 2004 that was uninsurable due to a Curry heart condition.  The Knicks had hoped that Curry would attend their summer league in Las Vegas because he has played so little basketball the last two years.  Curry did not show up for the voluntary workouts and Curry already thinks Knicks’ coach Mike D’antoni is holding it against him.

Last week, when the Knicks made the mysterious decision to sign Russian 7 footer, Timofey Mozgov, it is believed they informed Mozgov that he would back up newly acquired Center Ronny Turiaf who came to the Knicks as part of the David Lee sign and trade.  At least, that’s what Curry’s agent believes took place, as was reported by the New York media.

It seems strange that they would guarantee playing time to a guy unable to start on his European League team and who has never played a minute in the NBA.  When D’antoni was asked about it, he responded by saying that he couldn’t promise any time to a player he hasn’t really seen, and that the Knicks would find a place on the floor for a well conditioned Curry.

In terms of the decision to hold Stoudemire out of the Worlds in Turkey next month, it’s simply a smart play on their part from the standpoint of protecting their big new investment.  Remember, this is the Knicks we are talking about, who found a way to trade Marcus Camby for Antonio McDyess and then watched McDyess go down for the year in the final minute of the first half of an exhibition game.  While they have lost out on their target of 2-3 years in Lebron James, they have probably had the 2nd best off-season of any team, were in the mix for James despite doing everything wrong up until that very week, and despite the very questionable Mozgov signing.  I like the decision to hold Stoudemire out of international competition.

If Stoudemire thought he’d be pitching potential free agents like Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony on joining him in New York next month in Las Vegas and Turkey, he will either be doing so as a spectator, or via twitter and text message.  Hopefully the decision to hold him out of these games does not impinge on the Knicks’ ability to recruit or acquire top tier players in the future.

As for Amar’e, who took the money the Knicks threw at him, he doesn’t play for country anymore.  Now he’s just a New York Knickerbocker.

–Crack (

Looks like Lebron, Wade, and Bosh (above) will make for a pretty picture in Miami.

The New York Daily News is reporting that the Knicks have today conceded that Lebron James will be joining the Heat, with coach Mike D’antoni going so far as to say he is “stunned” by James’ choice.

It’s not just that the Knicks have seemed to have lost LeBron James but it appears that they have lost him to their old nemesis, Pat Riley.

Knicks officials conceded Thursday that they are likely out of the James sweepstakes with Mike D’Antoni going as far as to say he is “stunned” by James’ apparent decision to leave Cleveland and join the Miami Heat along with Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and of course Riley, the former Knicks coach who led the Lakers and Heat to titles.

In the last hour, the New York Post reported that James has reserved 25 rooms at the W Hotel in South Beach for tonight, and is planning a party.

We’ll be holding out hope that the Post’s story is untrue, especially with all of the secrecy surrounding James’ announcement.  Is it odd that story wasn’t broken by a Florida paper?

–Crack (

The New York Post has just reported that Lebron James has booked a large number of rooms at a South Beach hotel, and that he is planning a party in Miami.

LeBron James is ready to party it up in what may be his new basketball home.

James has booked 25 rooms at the W Hotel in South Beach starting tonight, a source told the Post. That fuels speculation that James will announce that he will sign with the Heat tonight at 9 p.m. during an ESPN special.

Though the Knicks are still clinging to a sliver of hope, they have heard through back channels that James is not likely headed to the Big Apple.

A source connected to James said, “ You should be writing about the Heat,’’ and there are multiple reports saying James is likely to join Pat Riley’s Miami club. The Knicks also believe Cleveland is still in the running and ahead of them in the chase for James.

We certainly hope this report proves to be false.

The Knicks can’t be happy right now.

–Crack (

Allan Houston (above), rumored to be heavily recruiting Lebron James (below), may be hosting the free agent prize at his Greenwich, Connecticut home this evening.

Could this be too good for Knicks’ fans to be true?  Several sources have reported, though unconfirmed, that former Pistons’ and Knicks’ great, and current Knick front office employee, Allan Houston, is entertaining Lebron James, who arrived in New York this evening, and that James may even be a guest at Houston’s sprawling Greenwich mansion this evening.

Should this be true, James to the Knicks is a slam dunk–another piece of speculation being rampantly reported by various internet sources this evening.

Jared just phoned into TMZ Live … and revealed that his top secret NBA sources have information directly from the Knicks … that LeBron has informed team officials that he will be joining the team.

Check out the audio and listen to the whole thing. LeBron is expected to make his “official” announcement tomorrow evening.

If Allan Houston has indeed been instrumental in bringing Lebron James to the Knicks, Houston, said to be the heir apparent to aging team president Donnie Walsh, deserves an immediate promotion.  Sources have said that Houston sold James on the Knicks as one of the classiest franchises in sport, despite recent woes.

It is believed that Houston discussed with James how supportive Knicks’ brass was with him when he suffered from debilitating knee and back injuries toward the end of his career, and how the Knicks allowed Houston to try out for the team after he had collected an enormous injury settlement at the time of his retirement–a very uncharacteristic move by an NBA ownership group.

Houston is said to be very close friends with Knicks primary owner Jim Dolan.  Should Houston really be instrumental in orchestrating James to New York–the coup of all coups–it would no doubt be an even bigger contribution the franchise than putting the Heat out of the playoffs with a last second shot in the 1999 playoffs, when the 8th seeded Knicks defeated the top seeded Heat, and made their last run to the NBA Finals.  Take a look at that shot at the video link below:

For more on this year’s banner NBA free agent class, and on the Knicks, check out the links below:

James will make his announcement Thursday at 9 PM EST, live on ESPN.

–Crack (

Next Page »