Mikhail Prokhorov



So the Nets, Pistons, and Denver virtually agreed on a 3 team blockbuster 2 or 3 weeks ago that would see 17 players and hundreds of millions in salary change hands, including the apple of our eye, New York native Carmelo Anthony, and have stood on this monumental precipice in limbo for almost a month?  We’ve always thought this nonsense, pathetically and desperately spun by lazy, stupid reporters who have made mountains out of the wishful daydreams of Denver novice GM Masai Ujiri, Joe Dumars, and Net GM “he aint won a thing” Billy King.

We can’t even blame Dumars or Ujiri that hard.  If you’re Dumars, who has rings as a player and team builder, and 2 teams come to you presenting you the chance to shed a 33 year old Rip Hamilton with 2 years and $25M remaining on his contract, you’d have to jump all over that.  You’d want it to go down so badly you might even hold Hamilton out of the lineup for over a week to facilitate the fantasy.  Butlet’s be real.  This would not be a basketball trade for the Pistons.  It’s a money trade.  Hamilton could run a marathon, contract malaria, become pregnant, and get hit in the eye by a bow and arrow and he’s still going to Newark in this twisted vision.

Ujiri?  Not gonna kill the poor guy.  In his first task of substance as a big league GM, he is left to  sort through this mess.  It’s like getting called up from double A to face Babe Ruth with the bases loaded.  He must do his diligence and try to make the deal that’s best for his club, which is Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, and the Nets lottery pick in 2011, plus 2 other 1st rounders.  At the end of the day though, it was a whole lot of leg work for naught.

Chris Sheridan, like us, has maintained all along that Anthony will be traded to the Knicks.  Some of his most pointed remarks on the topic came yesterday when Sheridan told ESPN radio that Anthony unequivocally refuses to sign an extension with any team other than New York.  Bottom line, Anthony holds all the leverage, and the Nets, and no one, for that matter, will trade 5 out of 6 of their top assets for a rental player.  The Nuggets and Pistons can arrange whatever deals they like, but Ujiri has no way of convincing ‘Melo to accept the trade, and Dumars can do no more than sit on his hands and pray for the impossible in Detroit. 

Carmelo is the trade.  If he is not held out of games for fear of injury, then no deals are imminent.  Anthony is playing tonight against OKC.  He has done better than pronouncing his intention to participate in all games for the foreseeable future.  He told Ujiri not to grant permission to Nets ownership to speak to him about the trade and the extension.  Against his wishes, they granted the Nets permission to speak to Anthony today.  Supposedly, Prokhorov and Jay Zee flew to Denver today to make their pitch.  Then ESPN runs the newsflash that the Nets have stopped pursuing Anthony and that the deal is forever dead.

So what happened when Prokhorov and Mr. Hip Hop finally got their chance to meet with Carmelo?  Here’s what happened: Anthony sent them home unceremoniously with an emphatic no.  Now ESPN reports that Anthony is not even a definite free agent this summer, that he has 1 year to go on his deal at $18M and will opt out of the deal if he is traded to a team (not New York) dumb enough to trade for him sans the extension.  By the way, how many guys is Jay Zee going to try to woo here and strike out with in his little amatuer NBA owner hour?  Embarrassing.

Look for the Nuggets, absolutely desperate to unload the disgruntled star and come away with something, to take back from New York Landry Fields, Danilo Gallinari, Minnesota’s pick (acquired for Anthony Randolph), and a first rounder the Knicks will purchase for cash money from a team like the Spurs or Blazers.  And as for Amar’e’s proclamation that he hasn’t spoken to Carmelo at all through this process?  He’s telling the truth.  They don’t talk.  They just text each other constantly.



Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com, www.crackbillionair.com)

Sasha Vujacic (L., above).



Sasha Vujacic has had his last meaningful fist bump with the great Kobe Bryant unless the two re-unite in free agency.  Unfortunately for Masha’s man, the versatile guard was shipped to the Nets in a complicated three team trade this evening in which the Nets were able to dump the chronically late Terrence Williams on Houston in exchange for Joe Smith, with 2 first rounders coming back to New Jersey.

Under the deal, the Nets  acquire a 2011 pick from the Lakers and a 2012 pick from the Rockets and Williams goes to Houston. The Nets also send veteran Joe Smith to the Lakers, who give up Vujacic and his expiring contract. There could be other parts to the deal, including an exchange of cash.

Although the deal has been agreed upon by all parties, it cannot be announced until Wednesday, when Smith becomes trade-eligible. Free agents acquired over the summer cannot be traded until Wednesday. Williams confirmed his departure in a tweet Tuesday night: “To all my Jersey fans and people, it’s been real. I love y’all and thanks. To Houston, what up. Go Rockets.”

While also getting valuable rebuilding pieces, the Nets are ridding themselves of a player who clashed with coach Avery Johnson and appeared stifled under the team’s system.

The 11th overall pick in the 2009 draft, who was touted as a premier talent by then-Nets GM Rod Thorn, Williams was deactivated before Tuesday night’s game against the 76ers. He was not at the arena. The last time that happened, Williams had been repeatedly late to team gatherings, including games and practices.


Williams, who shows tremendous promise from a standpoint of talent, was recently demoted to the d-league for his inability to conform to team rules.  Former Knick and current Celtic fireplug Nate Robinson, a close friend of Williams, had blasted the Nets in the press for their failure to make sure that Williams had the support he needed to make meetings and practices, and implied that Nets’ new coach Avery Johnson, is not much of a people person.  The little big man wouldn’t be the first to put that knock on Johnson, who has always been inflexible, to a fault.


Though the move seems to bode well for the Nets’ chances at acquiring Melo, chiefly because the oh so cheap Nuggets are intent on scoring a bushel of 1st rounders for their disgruntled star, it in no way means that Anthony would be happy in Newark for the next 2 seasons playing Johnson’s version of down tempo basketball, while hearing his annoying scratchy bark all the time.  It also doesn’t mean that Nets’ owner Mikhail Prokhorov is willing to ante up the big dollars for Melo.  Last week, Dallas owner Mark Cuban suggeted that Prokhorov was cheap and lacked the balls to make big acquisitions, even calling the Nets’ billionaire owner a “pussy.”

Vujacic’s nearly $5M salary slot will opne up for the Nets at season’s end, meaning the Nets will have additional money to lavish on questionable talent like the Troy Murphy’s of the world.  But even though the Nets seemed poised to deal for Melo and seem best matched to meet Denver’s demands, Anthony must be unimpressed with NJ’s set up and lack of talent, and the fact that they are 2 years away from Brooklyn bodes poorly.  In fact, we can not see Anthony signing any extension this year, despite the uncertainty over the next labor agreement. 

It’s possible that Anthony, under a new agreement, may max out well below the 3 yrs/$65M that is on the table.  Still, with all the pomp and ceremony surrounding the top free agents last summer, and with Anthony being, far and away, the top free agent prize this sumer, one would think that he would cherish the opportunity to be wooed and coveted the way Bosh, Wade, and James were.  Though commissioner Stern drives a hard bargain, let’s face it: the league is not exactly in the poor house.  Anthony would rate the absolute max under whatever agreement the league and players come to, and something about playing with Dwight Howard in Orlando, or Amar’e Stoudemire for that matter, in his home town where his wife has lobbied for him to land, has got to appeal to Anthony, especially considering the Knicks’ resurgence and their surprising success this season.

And if the Nets can land 2 #1’s for old man Joe Smith and late man Williams, Donnie Walsh should be in good shape when he does the inevitable and officially places Anthony Randolph on the block.  Right now, word out of Denver is that the Nuggets feel the Knicks don’t have the picks to offer in a deal that they’d be looking for, but it’s only December, and this thing isn’t going to play ou for a couple of months yet.  We’re also hearing the Nuggets are smitten with Knicks’ rookie Landry Fields, who has shocked us with his cool play and machine like rebounding at the two guard position.

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com, www.crackbillionair.com)

Newest Knick Amar’e Stoudemire (above).

Stoudemire’s career stats:

Career Season Averages
02-03 PHX 82 71 31.3 0.472 0.200 0.661 3.0 5.7 8.8 1.0 0.8 1.1 2.30 3.28 13.5
03-04 PHX 55 53 36.9 0.475 0.200 0.713 2.9 6.2 9.0 1.4 1.2 1.6 3.22 3.42 20.6
04-05 PHX 80 80 36.1 0.559 0.188 0.733 2.7 6.2 8.9 1.6 1.0 1.6 2.36 3.48 26.0
05-06 PHX 3 3 16.7 0.333 0.000 0.889 2.0 3.3 5.3 0.7 0.3 1.0 0.33 1.33 8.7
06-07 PHX 82 78 32.8 0.575 0.000 0.781 2.7 6.9 9.6 1.0 1.0 1.3 2.83 3.60 20.4
07-08 PHX 79 79 33.9 0.590 0.161 0.805 2.3 6.8 9.1 1.5 0.8 2.1 2.20 3.72 25.2
08-09 PHX 53 53 36.8 0.539 0.429 0.835 2.2 5.9 8.1 2.0 0.9 1.1 2.83 3.08 21.4
09-10 PHX 82 82 34.6 0.557 0.167 0.771 2.8 6.1 8.9 1.0 0.6 1.0 2.60 3.43 23.1
Career 516 499 34.3 0.544 0.190 0.758 2.7 6.3 8.9 1.3 0.9 1.4 2.57 3.43 21.4
All-Star 5 2 17.8 0.578 0.333 0.643 3.2 4.6 7.8 1.0 0.8 0.6 1.40 2.00 16.8


The Knick “braintrust”, faced with the possibility of the music stopping and being left without a chair, after putting three years stock into the Lebron James charade, continued the games by adding forward Amar’e Stoudemire.  Stoudemire, who underwent the dreaded microfracture surgery in 2005, has never been the same player since the injury.  Because of the injury, the Knicks will not be able to insure the nearly $100 M contract.


Sound familiar?  When I close my eyes I can hear Isaiah Thomas talking like Michael Jackson about Eddy Curry.


While the Nets impressed Lebron James Thursday with a contingent that included Avery Johnson, Russian billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov, and recording legend and James’ buddy Jay-Z, and don’t think it of little consequence that Johnson and Jay-Z are black, Curry happened to be the only contemporary “ambassador” from the Knicks to meet with James, who scorched the Knicks and their hapless coach, Mike D’antoni when granted a personal audience with James.  It was probably the first time Curry has ever been right, too.

According to a source close to Curry, the Knicks‘ veteran center met with James in Ohio to discuss Curry’s future, which may or may not include having LeBron as a teammate. The conversation, the source said, “had nothing to do with Eddy trying to recruit LeBron to New York.”






In fact, Curry may have been recruiting himself to join James either in Cleveland or Chicago. Curry is entering the final year of his contract and has told close friends he’d welcome a buyout from the Knicks in order to become a free agent.

Curry has talked about returning to his hometown of Chicago to restart his career. The Bulls are one of several teams with salary cap room to sign James, who is expected to visit New York, New Jersey and Chicago when he becomes a free agent on July 1st.


The Knicks “braintrust” was betting on a major summer in free agency, but the summer looks like more of a disaster than anything, with the impending loss of David Lee set to completely offset the Stoudemire signing, especially on the glass, where Lee is perennially one of the finest rebounders in the game.  For those of you who assume Stoudemire and D’antoni have this great rapport and comfort level, think again.  The word out of Phoenix was that they frequently came to loggerheads, and that star guard Steve Nash had to act as a buffer and a peace maker between the two.


Asked about D’antoni in an interview at the end of March, here was Stoudemire’s reply:

Do you agree that Mike D’Antoni not emphasizing defense set you back:

“I think so. With us not really focused defensively and not teaching defense a lot of the finger pointing was towards me saying that I wasn’t a good defensive player but I just was never taught defensive strategy so it really was kind of unfair to put the blame on me. I think over time, it shows now that we are a better defensive team, we got guys that can play defense and my defense is not really that bad.”


This is Stoudemire being diplomatic, too.  This deal was born out of necessity on both sides.  The Knicks needed a player, and the player needed a team to offer 5 years at $ 19 + M a year on average.  The Suns, who know Stoudemire best and who got his best years, were unwilling to pledge to hima 5th season, and the Heat tried to get him on a 5 yr deal for almost $ 25 M less than the Knicks offer.

What’s next for the Knicks, who are about to strike out on the top 3 free agents, and who don’t seem to have the muscle to work out trades for Chris Paul or Carmelo Anthony with their flimsy roster?  We are hearing that the Knicks are looking for a partner in crime to put along aside Stoudemire at the 5, and have their sights set on Dallas big Brendan Haywood.

Can you feel the excitement?

Luckily for the Knicks, Dallas is probably going to lavish Haywood with their own millions, saving New York from more folly.

The Knicks made their bed more than 2 years ago when they hired Walsh who hired D’antoni, over Mark Jackson, the widely respected commentator, New York product, and a much savvier pitchman and face of the franchise when it comes to selling free agents on the virtues of New York, being a guy who actually played here, and did so on successful Knicks teams.  Speaking of Jackson, whom the Knicks have not had a reliable point guard since his departure nearly 20 years ago, the Knicks should foresake their pursuit of a center for now, considering they have Curry in a walk year–likely the only year you will ever see the guy motivated, and try to obtain a quality point guard.  The point guard position has been broken for far too long here, and a permanent fix for less than max dollars would leave the Knicks in decent shape next off season to recruit, should they wisely dump D’antoni, who is unlikely to be extended, as he goes into the 3rd year of a 4 year contract.

With Curry and new Knick “star” Stoudemire already vocal opponents of D’antoni, a alck of success this season, which is almost a certainty, could be the final nail in D’antoni’s already sized and outfitted coffin.  Should they not trade all their assets for Tony Parker, and perhaps get lucky in free agency with pass first point guard Raymond Felton, in whom they have interest, a new coach who desirable players do have interest in playing for could possibly convince Carmelo to play for the Knicks.  The Knicks would also help themselves for the future immensely by keeping their 2011 first round pick, one that has an excellent chance of being a lottery selection.

More of the status quo will only earn them more of the status quo, which right now, is second tier, and second team all the way, in their own city, with the first team being the Nets led by NBA icon Jay-Z.  It’s ironic how the Knicks threw away so much money for so long and would happily continue to do so, but now have slim pickings as far as who they can throw their money at.

–Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

Former Mavericks’ coach and former Mavericks’ and Spurs’ point guard, Avery Johnson (above), is exchanging proposals with Nets billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov, and could become their next head coach very soon, according to ESPN.  The move would make sense for New Jersey, because Johnson is an outspoken leader–something the Nets have lacked for many years.  Johnson also has coached current Net guard Devin Harris, who if kept, will be a cornerstone of next year’s team.

If Nets fans (if there are any) are excited by the news, they should remember that last summer the Detroit Pistons agreed to hire Johnson, but at the “exchanging proposals” stage, the 2 sides could not agree on money.  But Prokhorov is a lot more free spending than Pistons owner Bill Davidson, who also owned the Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League, before selling the team in 2008.

The New Jersey Nets and representatives for Avery Johnson were progressing toward a deal Wednesday to make him the team’s next coach, according to sources close to the situation.

The two sides have begun exchanging contract figures, signaling that Johnson is the Nets’ choice to become the first hire of the Mikhail Prokhorov era, according to sources. Prokhorov, a Russian billionaire, completed his purchase of the Nets last month.

Johnson, who has been working for ESPN since his dismissal from the Dallas Mavericks after the 2007-08 season, was the NBA’s Coach of the Year in 2005 and took the Mavs to the NBA Finals in 2006. He posted a record of 194-70 in three-plus seasons, good for a winning percentage of .735, and would be reunited in New Jersey with point guard Devin Harris.


Johnson would be a good hire for the Nets because he will not settle for listless play.  Johnson has a great regular season record, but was severely out-coached by Pat Riley in the 2006 NBA finals, losing unexpectedly to the Heat in 5 games.  The next year, Johnson’s Mavs had the league’s best record, but were upset by Golden State in what some call the greatest upset in NBA history.

–Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)