Nate Robinson


On a buzzer beater by Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks salvaged a win last night in Memphis after blowing another ten point lead, this time with 3:37 to play.  Melo, after popping the jumper, had some interesting interplay with the Grizzlies’ bench.  Defensive “stopper” Tony Allen, did little to contain Anthony overall, who put together another great stat line (31 pts, 5 reb., 6 assts).  Anthony, who an excited Memphis bench regaled with sentiments his game winning shot was off when it left his hands, went back at the Memphis sideline and said simply, “I do this” when the shot fell.

Exciting times for the Knicks indeed.  Don’t mistake our silence on the Carmelo saga and on the beginning of this era as a lack of excitement for what’s going on.  We stated here months ago that Gallinari, probably Chandler, and a pick swung from Minny for Anthony Randolph was going to Denver.  We wrote–months ago–that Melo was engineering a trade to NY and that privately he had shot down the Nets.  Even publicly, he couldn’t even fake being lukewarm toward the proposition of NJ.  He could’ve had a deal to the Nets at any point since June.  Instead, when Denver obviously begged their disgruntled star to thow them a bone in the form of some leverage, Anthony spoke not of New Jersey but of perhaps signing the extension with Denver.

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2011/01/20/espn-nets-melo-drama-a-farce/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/10/05/carmelo-anthony-no-to-nets/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/09/28/carmelo-anthony-to-nets-pipedream-crushed/

We’ve had a big picture view on the Knicks dating back about 6 years now.  The Anthony acquisition is a major step, but part of a much larger long term process.  First, we rooted for Thomas to do enough damage to get himself fired, which finally happened with an assist from Stephon Marbury who testified about pressuring a young female Garden employee into giving him a blowjob.  Then, Thomas had to be replaced with a quality hire.  Sure, we’ve made fun of Donnie Wheelchair, and we hate his draft acumen, but he is a pro.  He had a plan and stuck to it, giving the Knicks the chance to slot in stars the magnitude and calibre of the ones now on board.

These exciting times and last second wins?  Great to be excited, but putting teams away when up 10 or 12 in the 4th quarter is a lot more gratifying in our minds.  Still, it’s a long view.  You know our feeling on Mike D’antoni.  We’d never hire him.  Ever.  Not for the Knicks, not for a Division III school, not for an AAU gig, not even to mop up court sweat.  We’ve never seen any facsimile of speedball win big on any level.  Showtime out in LA and all fast break basketball is predicated on stops, rebounds, and turnovers that lead to easy scores.  Remember the Riley credo: “No rebounds, no rings.”

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/03/23/before-they-can-worry-about-free-agents-knicks-need-a-coach/

The next step in the Knicks progression is probably going to be growth from within.  Fields and Douglass have upside and are improving.  We expect 7 or 8 guys from this squad to return next year and that they’ll improve as a group.  Seven foot pivot Jerome Jordan, a 2nd round pick last year, will probably be imported from Europe.  He’s a big who showed polish and promise in college, and who is currently showing a knack for scoring down low overseas.  The Knicks must draft wisely in round 1 this year (BTW, did anyone hear Kemba Walker lobbying this week to come to NY?), and may be served to buy another pick, ala the Toney D. selection, which they acquired for cash from the Lakers.

But Mike D.?  If we could only sell him off.  Short practices, disinterested walkthroughs and shoot arounds.  Mishandled player relations (Nate Robinson, Jordan Hill, etc.)  We guess Walsh can live with it so far.  But all the late blown leads and not running plays late in the games?  Our media is already tiring of this act.  The Post this week had a snappy headline in which they referred to him as “Done-toni.”

http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/knicks/after_season_mike_may_be_done_toni_EoEp0beiA3opwRMF02MkyJ

If Garden management is so slow to take care of Walsh, who always represents the team in a respectful fashion, why would they be in a rush to extend the coach?  Especially one whose rationale for not calling a timeout to set up a play at the end of games is along the lines of ‘we basically know what to do.’  Really?  Did they know what to do in Phily weeks back when they blew another double digit lead in the 4th, went down 10, and cut it to 2 in the closing seconds?  D’antoni didn’t call for a timeout, the Knicks had no play, ran something we’d describe as chaos, and watched Shawne Williams, fresh off the scrap heap, force a drive when the Stoudemires, Chandlers, Gallos, and Feltons of the world watched.

We will suggest right here that D’antoni is also mishandling Chauncey Billups and his injury situation.  Billups hurt his quad 6 games ago.  D’antoni has termed him day to day the whole while.  How is a guy not named John Abraham day to day for 2 full weeks?  Not only do we not think D’antoni is being honest, we also don’t feel he and Billups are on the same page.  Billups said of a Sunday return, “not looking good.”  D’antoni said Billups is “coming back Sunday.”  We think D’antoni is afraid to tell the media the truth about Billups, in part.  The guy is a self preservationist, and he must know that a 3rd free pass in a row, at $6M per, is unlikely, even from the imminently wasteful Madison Square Garden Co. 

And here’s what a good coach says: ‘So and so’s not playing.  Injuries are part of the game.  Out of sight, out of mind.  We’re gonna play without him and we’ll be ready.’  A good coach doesn’t clutch at excuses.  A good coach wouldn’t be afraid to go up to the 5 seed and face Orlando.  He wouldn’t be making excuses about how hard it is to lose Billups, or how unrealistic it is to think the Knicks are more on a level with Atlanta than Charlotte.  The Knicks took it to the Magic for a chunk of their last meeting in Orlando, in what was another second half debacle.  A very quick Jameer Nelson killed them off the dribble and with the shot.  How about at least pretending you have a shred of confidence in Toney Douglass as another option against Nelson? 

Another local beat guy, Alan Hahn of Newsday, has been maligning the Knicks execution, an obvious shot at D’antoni.  Hahn’s a guy you should pay particular attention to.  Why?  Because the Garden owns Newsday, and MSG Network has been giving Hahn lots of air time of late, featuring him on Knicks broadcasts in a prominent role.   

BTW, be sure to tune in tonight when the Knicks face the Mavs wearing their “Nueva York” jerseys for some NBA Spanish night nonsense.  The Knicks have the worst winning percentage of any club over the last 9 seasons.  But something about these Nueva York jerseys might bother us even more than that.

Are we critical much?  Crack do this!

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

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

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

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?playerId=1727

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.”

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/07/21/knicks-protect-investment-block-stoudemire-from-playing-at-world-championships/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/07/03/knicks-sign-consolation-prize-amare-stoudemire/

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?”

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/03/23/before-they-can-worry-about-free-agents-knicks-need-a-coach/

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.

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/07/10/knicks-sign-point-guard-raymond-felton/

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

Sasha Vujacic (L., above).

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/05/09/sharapova-comeback-derailed-in-madrid-bikini-shots/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/10/23/it-must-be-love-masha-n-sasha-pics/

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.

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/basketball/2010/12/14/2010-12-14_terrence_williams_traded_to_houston_rockets_nets_get_sasha_vujacic_and_two_first.html

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.

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/basketball/2010/11/25/2010-11-25_while_nets_guard_terrence_williams_awaits_fate_former_knick_nate_robinson_says_t.html

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)