New Jersey Nets


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Last Thursday night in Miami the Knicks played a complete game from start to finish, without star and 27.5 PPG contributor Carmelo Anthony, and blew out defending Champion Miami Heat at United Airlines Arena 112-92, in what may have been their best regular season performance in the new millennium.  Since then, the Knickerbockers went toe to toe with the Bulls in Chicago and lost, and posted wins over Denver and NJ…um, “Brooklyn” that is, 2 games that have been labeled by some as a Carmelo revival tour of sorts.  Tuesday’s victory over New Jersey, as must a win as there can be in mid December, was made possible by Anthony’s 45 pts, and was delivered by a 3 pointer by new team leader Jason Kidd (shown above) in the final minute which was also the game’s final tally.

Prior to the South Beach business trip, the Knicks played a mostly lackluster game in Charlotte, looking ahead to the Heat, in all likelihood.  While Anthony put up 20 in the 1st half, he had zero field goals in the 2nd.  But his low output did not hinder his effort.  With only a few minutes to play, Anthony followed a loose ball into the Knicks’ bench, lacerating his finger, and causing him to miss the next two games.

Without Anthony on the floor for the final minutes in Charlotte, the Knicks capped the impressive comeback (8 down with 6 minutes to play) win with a 5 man unit consisting of Chandler, Novak, Smith, Felton, and Kidd.  Felton and Smith teamed for a huge steal in the final minute and swarming team D led to a 5 second violation for another key turnover, in part aided by a mental error by city product and NCAA champ Kemba Walker.  The pride of UConn failed to present himself on the inbounds pass, as he was the likely option on the throw in.  Felton scored with approximately a minute to go on a sweet drive, which gave the Knicks a 98-98 tie, and then JR Smith, after failing to go hard to the rim for a layup that would’ve won the ball game, instead called a TO and then promptly won it with a fall away from behind the elbow as time expired.

The Knicks performance last week, marked by strong defense and execution, have been hallmarks of the team this year–especially 2nd half defense–traits notably absent during Mike D’Antoni’s failed tenure, but traits once again associated with the Knicks under Mike Woodson, now 35-12 as HC of the NYK.  Another refreshing quality the Knicks now have in spades, which was noticeably absent during the D’Antoni era is effort, which, to a man, has improved under coach Woodson.

It couldn’t have hurt to have added so many serious veterans with winning predigees, like Rasheed Wallace and “rookie” Pablo Prigioni, who, in 13 minutes against the Heat, recorded 7 pts and 6 boards.  Prigioni has a serious nose for the ball via the steal and the long rebound, a perfect reserve on a club that shoots so many 3s (last night the Knicks made 14-28 3PFGAS).  Kidd has also shown a knack for loose balls and long rebounds, but to be honest, what hasn’t he shown a knack for since coming to NY’s real team?

Walt “Clyde” Frazier, who truly puts the color in color commentary, recently discussed Kidd’s impact on the Knicks this year.  In doing so, Clyde recalled Kidd led NJ teams that went to the finals, along with players like Richard Jefferson and Kenyon Martin, who ‘have been practically nothing without him.’  It’s easy to understand why Kidd’s departure so enraged Dallas owner Mark Cuban.  In fact, we were even apoplectic that Kidd was out for the 1st game the Knicks played against the Nets in Brooklyn.  Something tells us the Knicks finish that business off with Kidd on the floor to steady and martial the troops.  We’re pretty certain that Knicks point guard Ray Felton would be the first guy to cite Kidd’s impact, as Felton is enjoying a career season with Kidd as his 2.

In that game against Miami, Felton made 6 3s, led the team with 27 points, and turned it over only 3 times, and only once through 3 quarters.  Felton’s play against Miami prompted one local beat man (props to Steve Popper) to Tweet, “Feltonsanity.”  Too bad Jeremy Lin didn’t stick around, as he would have greatly benefitted from Kidd’s tutelage, as opposed to Houston, where he shares the ball handling duties with, wait for it…Toney Douglass.  Oh, the hand of fate!

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2012/07/19/jeremy-lin-duplicitous-twerp-scumbag-liar/

Even if Kidd is not showing up on the score sheet, his contributions are great. In Miami, Kidd was a staggering +31 in his minutes.  Kidd has taken charge of most huddles and is perfectly suited to, for what player on the Knicks or in the league anywhere, for that matter, would not defer to Kidd’s wisdom in a crunch situation?  When JR Smith failed to go in for that layup to beat the Bobcats, Kidd was visibly irate with Smith, but then appeared to instruct Smith to shake off the play.  So Smith went out and made the buzzer beater, all net, no rim, splash.

Having 2 point guards on the floor, one being Kidd, has manifested itself in another winning attribute: TO ratio.  This year the Knicks have a +5.5 TO margin, which, at the moment is not only tops in the league but is also on pace for an NBA team record.

Back to the +/- stat for a moment, a stat which is also distinguishing the Knicks as an elite regular season team.  The Knicks 5 man unit of Chandler, Novak, Smith, Felton, and Kidd is the top +/- group in the NBA. The 4 man unit of Chandler, Felton, Novak, Kidd is the top foursome in the league, and the 3 man unit of Novak, Felton, and Kidd is the top 3 man unit, at a staggering +19 avg.

Novak has been worth every penny of his 20+M/4 yr deal so far.  Even last night, when he recorded zero points, he was a +12 in his minutes, which indicates that he plays sound ball regardless of his stroke and scoring numbers.

As presently constituted, the Knicks sit atop the Atlantic at 16-5.  They should be wired on Thursday when they play the Lakers, a struggling team, now coached by Knicks’ castoff Mike D’Antoni, a questionable hire, especially considering that Phil Jackson was set to return to LA when D’Antoni agreed to take his woe is me act to SoCal.  Only time will tell as to D’Antoni’s success in LA, though not only aren’t we counting on it, but we’re actively rooting against it.  The Knicks would be wise to jump all over LA at MSG, where Kobe usually puts up immense numbers.

The Knicks should be further buoyed by the imminent return of Amar’e Stoudemire, who looks to be in great shape right now, and who is expected back around Christmas.  And when Iman Shumpert returns, hopefully in January, the Knicks will have the defensive presence to throw at quick guards like Rondo and Deron Williams, which should further boost the play of Raymond Felton, an absolute bargain at 3M per, and taken with Kidd’s approximate 3M salary, the winning pair come in at the same approximate salary as former Knicks’ savior Jeremy Lin.

KNICKERBOCKERS!!!!

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

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 (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

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)

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/

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.

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/12/21/stoudemire-head-knick-in-charge/

GO NEW YORK GO NEW YORK GO!!!!!!!!

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)

Carmelo Anthony (above).

So Carmelo Anthony won’t sign a $ 65 M extension to play in Denver with Chauncey Billups, Nene, and J.R. Smith, so why would he ever sign that extension to go to New Jersey, which, last we looked is still Newark and not Brooklyn, and was the worst NBA team last year in a decade?

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

We said as much last week when the news of Anthony to the Nets was squashed, but apparently God himself–Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News–knew better.  Or so he thought, and erroniously reported.

“(Anthony) might have preferred going to the Knicks,” one NBA executive said Tuesday, “but he was prepared to sign an extension with the Nets. And the Knicks don’t have enough to offer the Nuggets.”

Interesting, considering nowhere else was this reported.  I dare say that Lupica not only had his facts wrong, but that he had no facts whatsoever.  I think what “one NBA executive said Tuesday” is a complete fabrication by a lazy reporter.

“He was on board,” another executive involved in the deal said over the weekend. “He wants out.”

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/basketball/knicks/2010/09/29/2010-09-29_garden_gets_assist_as_big_one_bounces_away_from_nj.html?page=1

Another executive right above claiming, as reported by Lupica, that Anthony was “on board.”  Only ‘Melo, the man himself, dispelled all of these unnamed names and unsubstantiated claims, couched in Lupica’s pained, tortorous prose, rendering the Daily News’ big shot’s article completely useless.  Anthony was asked this week if he would have actually accepted a deal to Newark.

Most thought if Denver was willing to go through with the four-team trade last week that would have sent Anthony to New Jersey, the superstar would have signed a contract extension with the Nets.

“I never said I want to play for the Nets,” Anthony told the Denver Post after he was asked why he would be interested in playing for a team that won 12 games last year.

http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/nets/carmelo_questions_whether_he_was_j0n7a5R2uHwg1crgzO522H

Is there anyone else who can’t stomach Mike Lupica by now?  The political expert, sports expert, junk fiction/newspaper hack?  Clearly Lupica has an axe to grind with the Knicks, whom he used as a prop for his piece, suggesting the Nets are even in the ball game as a legitimate rival to the Knicks–in any way.  Take a look at the opening of his piece:

This would have been a move that made Newark seem closer to New York City than it ever had before. This is a move that would have scared the Knicks to death, showed them what the future is going to be like with this big rich Russian, Prokhorov, owning the team and the team on its way to Brooklyn. This would have been one of the great sports trades any of our teams has made lately, and the biggest thing to happen to the Jersey Nets since Rod Thorn got Jason Kidd and put them in the NBA Finals.

Lupica goes on to suggest that this move, which never happened because Anthony would never sign the extension, would have made the Knicks “even more irrelevant.”  Listen up, Mike.  The Nets had more cap space than the Knicks this summer, couldn’t attract a fly, and so the “big” splash they made was bringing in…Troy Murphy.  Nice addition for a 12 win team?

I think not.  The Nets struck out with all the same big names as the Knicks, struck out with Amar’e Stoudemire, who is thrilled to call the garden his home, and couldn’t even manage to land David Lee, Knicks’ sloppy seconds who, admittedly, was desperate to stay in the area.  Staying in the area and playing in Newark are two very different things, however.

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/04/17/david-lee-thanks-for-the-memories/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/07/05/knicks-mull-lee-sign-and-trades-as-fallback-options-to-lebron-and-wade/

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

The Knicks also landed Raymond Felton, who was the best free agent point guard in the class.  The Nets?  They couldn’t even land John Wall, couldn’t even snag the top pick with an all-time NBA worst team.  And we loved every second of it.  Lupica likes to get all fancy with his words, which have once again belabored a moot point.  Anthony wants no part of New Jersey. 

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/05/19/no-luck-for-nj-nets-lose-draft-lottery/

How could we know that from here, while Lupica doesn’t?  Obviously neither of us have Carmelo’s cell phone number, but I wouldn’t be expected to anyway.  And by the way, Mike?  This would have been the biggest thing to happen to the Nets ever.  Not since Jason Kidd came and got dusted in two of the least watched NBA finals ever.  Nobody cares about the Nets.  One of “our” teams?

Hardly.  And not one of Carmelo Anthony’s teams either.  Sorry Mike.

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

ESPN’s Chris Sheridan reported yesterday that Donnie Walsh has a deal on the table to acquire a first round pick in the 2011 draft.  Though he didn’t mention for what, I would speculate that Wilson Chandler (above) could be involved.  He was whispered to be on the outs with Knicks over the summer, and nearly every Knicks’ rumor of late has seemed to involve Chandler.  Chandler, Isiah Thomas’ last first round selection, has developed into a nice scorer.  And for a Knick, he’s a fairly dependable shooter from the outside.  But at his lofty height, 6’8/6’9–he’s probably best suited to play forward, because he matches up better with forwards than guards on defense.  The Knicks are also extremely high on this year’s 2nd round pick, Landry Fields of Stanford, who seems to have similar talents and is close in size to Wilson Chandler, perhaps making Chandler all the more expendable.

http://blogs.bettor.com/Knicks-To-Sign-Russian-Giant,-Explore-Trade-Possibilities-For-Wilson-Chandler-a16089

Chandler’s stats:

Career Averages Rebounds  
YR TM G GS MIN FG FG% 3P 3P% FT FT% STL BLK TO PF OFF DEF TOT AST PTS
07-08 NYK 35 16 19.6 3.0-6.9 .438 0.3-0.9 .300 1.0-1.5 .630 0.40 0.50 0.8 2.4 1.1 2.5 3.6 0.9 7.3
08-09 NYK 82 70 33.4 5.5-12.9 .432 1.3-3.8 .328 2.1-2.6 .795 0.90 0.90 1.7 3.0 1.1 4.3 5.4 2.1 14.4
09-10 NYK 65 64 35.7 6.3-13.2 .479 0.6-2.3 .267 2.0-2.5 .806 0.70 0.80 1.7 2.8 1.4 3.9 5.3 2.1 15.3
      G GS MIN FG FG% 3P 3P% FT FT% STL BLK TO PF OFF DEF TOT AST PTS
Totals   182 150 31.5 5.3-11.8 .451 0.8-2.7 .308 1.8-2.4 .779 0.7 0.8 1.5 2.8 1.2 3.8 5.1 1.9 13.4
Career Totals Rebounds  
YR TM G MIN FG FG% 3P 3P% FT FT% STL BLK TO OFF DEF TOT AST PTS
07-08 NYK 35 685 106-242 .438 9-30 .300 34-54 .630 15 16 27 38 89 127 33 255
08-09 NYK 82 2735 455-1054 .432 103-314 .328 171-215 .795 71 75 139 91 354 445 170 1184
09-10 NYK 65 2320 412-860 .479 40-150 .267 129-160 .806 46 49 108 93 255 348 138 993
    G MIN FG FG% 3P 3P% FT FT% STL BLK TO OFF DEF TOT AST PTS
Totals   182 5740 973-2156 .451 152-494 .308 334-429 .779 132 140 274 222 698 920 341 2432

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/stats?playerId=3194

Chandler shot a very respectable 48 % from the floor last year, improving on his shooting percentage considerably from the 08-09 season to the 09-10 season by cutting down on bad three point shot attempts.  Call us crazy, but we see that as some nice development from the 4th year Knick.  The Knicks obviously haven’t seen it that way.  When pursuing Lakers backup Shannon Brown this summer, the Knicks were believed to have all but assured Brown that he’d see starter’s minutes.  If that was to be the case, then Chandler would obviously be looking at a demotion, or being traded.

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/07/30/knicks-news-chicago-police-after-curry-knicks-offer-contract-to-lakers-g-shannon-brown/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/08/05/brown-to-neg-knicks-as-they-plan-for-melo/

While the Knicks might be wise to keep Chandler, and would definitely be wise to acquire a first round pick in the draft next year, especially if they could do so without trading Chandler away, a lot of NY media types are going wild in a foolish attempt to connect the dots between Denver’s Carmelo Anthony and New York.  Knicks’ president Walsh said last week on a conference call with reporters that he was in the market for a first rounder, and when the Nets fell out of the Anthony sweepstakes this week and the news of the Knicks having an offer on the table that would net them a # 1, people are automatically assuming that this draft pick acquisition would be the precursor to a trade for Anthony.

Why would that necessarily be the case?  Keep in mind that the Knicks and Denver have little common ground for such a deal.  While Denver would like to receive a 1st round pick as part of a deal for Anthony, Walsh told WFAN’s Mike Francesa recently that talks with Denver have not gotten off the ground because Denver sees little of value in terms of players the Knicks have to offer.  Just about anyone can get them a draft pick, but who can get the Nuggets the types of players they are seeking in a trade?

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

Also, it has been rumored that Nuggets’ management will not trade Anthony to the Knicks because they feel that Amar’e Stoudemire’s public comments about Anthony wanting to play for the Knicks essentially amount to tampering–the new tampering that is–when players follow the Dwayne Wade blueprint for recruiting, as players on different teams are allowed to have contact.  While a rule in regard to that type of player contact maay be coming down the road, if logistically possible, we hear the Nuggets are incensed with Stoudemire, and would trade Anthony elsewhere to spite the Knicks.

I don’t think a Knicks’ trade for Anthony is happening.  New York’s best chance to snag Anthony will come after July 1st, if Anthony makes it to free agency.  Trading away their roster to acquire Anthony would leave the Knicks barren yet again, aside from a nucleus of Anthony and Stoudemire.  As long as the Knicks maintain cap flexibility, they will be in the running for top tier free agents for the foreseeable future.  Having just put together a team, finally, after 2 full seasons in limbo, it would be foolish for Walsh to blow it up so soon.

In other Knicks’ news, former St. John’s star, dream teamer, and Golden State general manager Chris Mullin, has accompanied the Knicks to Europe for exhibitons in Milan and Paris.  We have seen Mullin’s inclusion on the trip portrayed a couple ways.  Mullin is close to Walsh, and may be in line to become the Knicks general manager and heir apparent to Walsh as team president.  Why else would an unemployed personnel guy be hanging around the team?  We’d be happy if this were indeed the case.  Mullin, a college teammate of Mark Jackson, might be inclined to hire his old chum–a move we endorse wholeheartedly because we feel that Jackson is a great communicator who would have the ear of all of the Knicks players, and the attention of the league.

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/04/15/is-a-knicks-coaching-change-in-the-wind/

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

Other reports have stated that Knicks’ owner Jim Dolan has no intention of approving such a hire, citing his ties to Isiah Thomas and because Dolan feels it would be redundant for the Knicks to hire a 3rd personnel executive at this time.

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/08/09/knicks-isiah-hiring-endangers-franchise/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/08/12/nba-isiah-officially-out-in-ny/

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

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