New York Knickerbockers


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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!!!!

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Douchebag at ESPY’s (above).

With a flood of Lin stuff coming to the fore today in the wake of the New York Knicks decision not to match the Houston offer sheet to Jeremy Lin, we felt it wise to reserve our print judgment on the kid for a bit.  But we knew what that judgment was going to be, more or less, since hearing that Lin had went back to Houston, after being informed the Knicks would match on the initial offer, and contorted the offer into one of less years and more guaranteed money.  That second offer contained the dreaded poison pill, a 3rd year salary of some $15M, which would have put the Knicks in cap hell in 2014, and would have seen the Knicks responsible for nearly $58M between Lin’s salary and the luxury tax # that the salary and the 7 other Knicks under contract in 2014 would have triggered.

We loved Tommy Dee’s take on the situation on http://www.theknicksblog.com and must credit him, as has Evan Roberts of WFAN, for being on top of all NBA trade and free agent matters this offseason, beating most of the Knicks beat to Knicks related stories, and also, the Nets beat on matters relating to the um, “Brooklyn” Nets.  And we understand Dee’s vitriol toward Jim Dolan, who he feels made a petty decision, another petty decision, in deciding not to match on Jeremy Lin.

As a long tenured Knicks fan, we appreciate his passion, knowledge, and the depth of his analysis.  But we woke up one morning about 27-28 years ago to discover that the Knicks had similarly passed on an opportunity to retain Bernard King, one of the greatest scorers to ever play the game, and the greatest scorer to ever don a Knicks jersey.  As much as we love Bernard King, we root for the team, not the player.  Strictly front of the jersey, is how that works.  If Dolan and the Knicks brass perceived that Lin had been disloyal, and, that signing Lin was cost prohibitive to running their team, then they were well within their rights to let him go.  Even if doing so constituted losing an asset that they had acquired for nothing.

Were we stunned to hear that the Knicks had acquired Raymond Felton?  Indeed.  And we’d also have to credit a guy that we have discredited often who we feel is slow to news in covering the Knicks, Frank Isola of the NY Daily News, who had the Felton story down cold by not too late in the evening on Saturday.  We feel that Felton is an upgrade over Lin, we know that Felton wished to be here, and that he waited out the Lin situation on the off chance that the Knicks would turn to him.  We loved Felton’s work here last year, in averaging 17 PPG and 9 APG in his Knick career, leading to his trade to Denver for Carmelo.  An out of shape Felton, who came with a bad attitude more often than not to the arena last year for the Trailblazers still averaged close to 11 PPG and 7 APG, numbers that few Knicks guards have put up in the last 20 years.  A motivated Felton, back with Stoudemire, who had his greatest success as a Knick on the receiving end of Felton’s largesse, is going to be a boon to the team and to both Stoudemire and Felton.  Getting Stoudemire back to where he was in 2010 will be essential to getting the Knicks over the next hump, which is to win a round in the playoffs, hopefully more.

Now back to Lin and Dolan.  Say whatever you want about Dolan, and we’ve said much, but at the end of the day, we like him, because his check book makes it all happen.  That’s in two sports.  The New York Rangers, our dearly beloved, is now a model NHL franchise, the apple of thirty or so city’s eyes, and it is Dolan who footed that bill.  It is Dolan who ultimately gives Glen Sather the opportunity to cut Brad Richards a $65M contract, and who gives Sather the freedom to run the organization as he wishes, creating the phenomenal situation the Rangers are in, from coaching staff, to roster, to the draft room and farm system, which is unmatched throughout the sport right now.  And if Zach Parise wasn’t such a dick then Dolan would’ve signed off an a monumental deal for him as well, and Parise could’ve played out his career in the mecca, as opposed to Minnesota, a place where big time athletes do not want to go.

Houston happens to be another place like that.  And when Jeremy Lin had that assurance from Dolan that the Knicks were going to match his 28M offer, he went back to Houston for better terms, terms Lin knew would hamper the Knicks ability to retain him.  Is Lin disloyal?  Absolutely.  Should he have pursued the best offer at all costs, as he did?  No.  If you want to be a Knick and the Knicks tell you they are keeping you, then you let it end right there, with a fat AAS of $7M per.  JR Smith could’ve pretended he was a good, loyal Knick and then went out and taken a big offer.  He didn’t.  Why?  Because he wanted to be here.  Because he isn’t that guy.  For all the things he is, for any dumb shit he’s done, he’s not a dishonest, money hungry amateurish NBA Chinese American Harvard hayseed.  Steve Novak also showed he wanted to be here when he could’ve pushed the envelope for a fatter payday.

What do we mean by that string of Lin insults?  Well, let’s be honest.  Jeremy Lin handled this situation terribly, right down to his crocodile tears today about wanting to be here, and his stupid fucking Twitter thank you to New York.  Jeremy Lin thought the Knicks had no option but him at point guard, and therefore, he thought, let’s try to extort NY.  Jim Dolan has every right to be upset and hurt by that.  Jeremy Lin, his team, his agent, whomever, underestimated the Knicks ability to find another guard within 72 hours.  Today, he said as much.  He had no idea that they had Felton on the back burner, and he says, had he known that, he wouldn’t have pressed for the poison pill contract with Houston.

Lin also said a lot of other things that expose him for the amateurish backstabber he is.  Like how he wanted to play in game 5 against Miami but that Knicks players in the league “5 years or more” talked him out of it, causing him to change his tune from “85% healthy” to “15% from the minimum threshold” of NBA game readiness.  We also have to hand it to Isola for pointing out these ridiculous statements in slapping Lin around all day.

Does Lin have some kind of special computer that only he owns that measures minimum threshold for NBA game readiness?  If so, was it engineered at Harvard?  Or by the Chinese?  If so, were they the same friends of Yao Ming who apparently orchestrated this whole Houston nonsense as a favor to Yao?  Because these Chinese roll so thick and all?  And what about the Knick vets with 5 years or more?

Did actuarial science really rob the Knicks of an 85% healthy but really 15% of minimum NBA readiness game 5 Jeremy Lin?  Did Lin really feel it was necessary to leak through his team that he was going to play, only to rescind, through his team, that he would, when playing or not playing against the Miami Heat was academic to the eventual result anyway?  And why was his team to be believed then, but last week, was not to be believed when Lin made his famous proclamation that ‘if it isn’t a direct quote’ from him then don’t believe it?  These are not the actions of a forthright, trustworthy individual.

Did the Knicks fuck Lin over initially by openly coveting Steve Nash?  No.  Does Lin suggest that the pursuit of Nash inclined Lin to backstab the NYK?

He does, but he is a dumb dick.  Coveting the best player at a given position is something that every team in the league should do.  If he thinks Houston didn’t covet Nash, then he’s a fool.  Only thing is, Nash isn’t stupid enough to do business with the Rockets or go live in that God awful place.

This is how great the Knicks were to Lin, in fact:  After giving him his big break, they were not even convinced of his ability to be a starter in the league considering that he only played a handful of games, and yet they were still willing to pay him 7M per, as a fucking backup.

Because the Knicks want to win, and so, they were willing to pay out over 20M to that one position, point guard, between Nash (10-12 M), Lin (7M AAS), Prignioni ($900,000), and Kidd (3M).  That’s what is so great about being a Knick fan, despite any folly perpetrated by their owners and management.  They’ll pay anything.

But they won’t be extorted.  Not even by some Asian Johnny Come Lately, not even when it devalues the company stock or when the guy they are letting go sells the most jerseys in the world.  So bravo to Dolan, Grunwald, Woodson, the Knickerbockers, the Rangers and the Garden.  And fuck you to Jeremy Lin.  Have fun in Houston, kid.  If you do, you’ll be the first.

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It’s true that Mike D’Antoni (above) is no longer a Knick, but we never counted him as one to start with.

Oh happy happy days. Our beloved Knickerbockers have dropped that tired, heartless “7 seconds or less” program, Wednesday firing coach Mike D’Antoni in what was a move long past due. Despite whatever shadowy shenanigans were reported otherwise about resignations and mutually agreed upon resignations and spontaneous, unplanned mutually contrived resignations, the Knicks did what they had to do and fired D’Antoni’s ass, at the behest of their star, Carmelo Anthony. Whether he spoke the words out loud “get this guy out of here” or not is of little consequence. He didn’t have to. We still have to thank Melo, Glen Grunwald, of course James Dolan, our major domo, and even Mike Woodson, who we do not like much better than Mike D’Antoni, but who stepped in and played one hell of a game of charades at The Garden Wednesday, and who will always play right along, making that nice Knicks assistant coaching and interim HC money, green as ever, for playing his part as house boy to the hilt.

Is that harsh? We really don’t mean it like that. We are thrilled to have Woodson as our HC. For the next 23 games. Couldn’t have been any happier unless one of the other holdover coaches, preferably Herb Williams or Kenny Atkins, had gotten the nod. But that’s okay. This Knicks rebuild is a process and a half, and in the long view, we also knew that D’Antoni was just a guy to point free agents to as being easy to play for during the recruitment part of the process, and that once the players were recruited, more or less, that a coach who is more than just a signpost would need to come aboard to do the heavy lifting, making a collection of players into a bona fide NBA squad that this city is desperate for.

So we won’t even quibble with yesterday’s grand folly at MSG, led by the major domo himself, out from behind his silk curtain, it seems, for the first time in a year. Remember the last time? After the consummation of the Anthony deal when James Dolan got up, lied through his teeth about Donnie Walsh’s pumped up but truly non existent role in the trade, and gritted out a tirade about Isiah Thomas and the foul lies of the whore media (that lives in the realm outside his own media empire). Once again, Dolan did not disappoint, aside from a tiny bone sliver we have yet to pick. First, get a little load of this press engagement:

To start it with a bang, Dolan says, “today we have mutually agreed with Mike D’Antoni that he will no longer coach the Knicks. Mike came in this morning and he met with Glen and Allan (Houston) and then they called me and I came up to the training center and met with Mike. It was not an event that was planned in any way. It just happened. This morning.”

What’s the over/under on lies in that paragraph? Today…that’s one lie. We have mutually…that’s two. Agreed…three. And what about this whopper? “It was not an event that was planned in any way.” Right. Hey there, kind sir, do whatever the flip you like. You do own these premises and the TV station bringing us all this fine spectacle, and it was your divine checkbook and never say die attitude that got Anthony here in the first place, and he’s truly the guy with a presence enough to advance the Knicks cause with this addition by subtraction, because of the failure between player and coach to get along and work together in D’Antoni’s system. No real Knicks fan has ever wanted anything to do with Mike D’Antoni, his southern drawl, and his very, very say die attitude, so pervasive that it’s caught fire with the very same foul whore media that James Dolan is so right to spurn, taking more care with the toilet paper stuck to his $3000 tassled loafer.

Should mega billionaire mogul James Dolan really be slumming with the sordid likes of dolts on par with Frank Isola and Mitch Lawrence of the Daily News, two guys who believe Mike D’Antoni didn’t get a real chance here, in 4 painfully long years, for reasons like this one: he never had a true point guard? Are these morons for real? When exactly have the Knicks had a true point guard? Walt “Clyde” Frazier graced us four decades ago and not since. The Knicks never promised D’Antoni a certain roster, a Steve Nash clone, an adequate big, that he’d never get booed, that they wouldn’t trade his boy toy Danilo Gallinari, or any owner–beat scum rendezvous for that matter either. What they promised him was a fat $24M, which he’s getting, and apparently some shallow ruse to save face, perhaps feeling some obligation to protect D’Antoni from embarrassment even though his team quit on him. Maybe the king of the realm felt truly bad for D’Antoni, the boo-ee, or maybe he was just giddy that this fantasy actually played out, enough to not publicly fire him.  Maybe Dolan is so media conscious and disturbed by the possible bad press that he had Glen Grunwald author this Shakespearian comedy.

For Grunwald as interim GM of the club also does not wish to be seen as a guy who fired the great Mike D’Antoni.  But Grunwald, as Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations does have the authority to scheme up a mutual half resignation plot, thereby saving James Dolan the perceived indignity of the vile stupid whore media which would have rained down upon him had he been so cold as to publicly discharge Mike D’Antoni, media darling and millionaire many times over, no doubt recovering his hurty feelings in one of his mansions or luxury apartments right now.

Dolan should’ve fired him when he first wanted to, after the Knicks blew a 15 point lead with 6 minutes to play at MSG last year at the same time when the owner was entertaining a party of friends.  But since Dolan doesn’t fire millionaires short of embarrassing public sex trials, he sent Donnie Wheelchair to do it.  Since Donnie doesn’t roll like that, Dolan planted a similar circumstance on Walsh at the end of his contract.  But he didn’t fire him.  He just didn’t retain him. He didn’t fire him.  He simply refused to negotiate with him on a new contract.  Well, not actually but rather mutually they decided together that Walsh would no longer be president of the Knicks anymore, quite obviously.

Grunwald and Dolan could never have orchestrated this delightfully demeaning hoax without Carmelo Anthony, who is not losing any sleep over these events.  D’Antoni foolishly picked a passive aggressive media war with Melo, perhaps forgetting that Anthony rest some 15M points higher than him in the pecking order of the Knicks power structure.

When the press would ask the coach if Stoudemire was doing all he can this year, the answer was always yes, without hesitation.  When asked the same question about Anthony, there was much hemming and hawing. D’Antoni simply didn’t have the “thrust” to beat Anthony at that game.  Is Anthony a coach killer?  Damned good thing he is.  His actions spurred the necessary change here that sprung the elaborate two party mutually consented upon resignation of Mike D’Antoni.  Anthony blew up a franchise just last year.  Why would he have any qualms about statements like “the Knicks could learn a lot from the Heat” because the Heat “practice so hard” and he “wished the Knicks practiced like Miami.”  Kudos sir.  Or when constantly hounded by the press about D’Antoni’s beloved system, Melo called it “just another system” and suggested it was a system that hasn’t won anything on this side of the Atlantic.  Kudos again.  When that wasn’t enough, Anthony resorted to back channels, or for the NBA, whispers from one’s entourage.  BTW, since this source works in the Knicks front office, it’s not a stretch to deduce that Anthony’s entourage and the club’s management are linked very closely, if they are not actually part of the same circle.  Did Anthony speak the words that he wished to be traded?  Of course not. Did someone suggest to the stupid whore media that Anthony wasn’t happy which the stupid whore press then re-interpreted as a trade demand to squeeze out one more cheap headline, NYC style? Indeed.

As the fiction goes, Mike D’Antoni was so despondent lately that he could barely keep down his rigatoni, yet the other day was in spirits high enough that when asked about a defined role for Knicks whipping boy Toney Douglas, he laughed and said, “he doesn’t have any role. It doesn’t get more defined than that”. Class right until the end.

An end, which despite Wednesday’s farce was classier than this coach deserved.  The Knicks were 45 games under .500 for his tenure, and the only identity the team built was that they were lazy and apathetic.

There’d have been absolutely nothing wrong with the Knicks standing up and saying, “You know what? We suck and we’re tired of it.  It starts with the coach.  We get embarrassed at home and away, and guys aren’t trying.  We spent 230M on a front line and this coach did not make it work.  This is New York, this is the NBA, the big leagues, and it is just unacceptable.  The front office rebuilt the team.  The coach failed and was given ample time and resources, contrary to fucking ludicrous media reports.  Therefore we had to shit-can this shitbird.”

But alas, it all supposedly went down much more mutually and spontaneously, like a quality one night stand with a fine piece of ass, because Dolan and Grunwald and Allan Houston don’t fire great coaches.  And as for Phil Webber and Dan D’Antoni, they must have just spontaneously combusted.

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Carmelo Anthony (above), who gave the Knicks the lead twice in the final minute of regulation yesterday in Boston, only to see it wasted by inscrutable coaching decisions.

Just because a guy has a system, it doesn’t make him a good coach.  Just because a guy emerges as a superstar point guard, basically out of nowhere, it doesn’t mean that coach had much, if anything to do with it.  And while we know that James Dolan, owner of the New York Knicks, doesn’t love Mike D’antoni, denying him a contract extension that made the coach a lame duck this year, a rarity in sports, we hope that yesterday’s final 18 seconds of regulation did nothing if not reinforce such a decision.  Because as we’ve been saying from the get go,  the Knicks are in need of more than just a system.  The Knicks need a coach, and have needed one ever since Jeff Van Gundy left town 11 years ago.  Finding Jeremy Lin has done nothing to diminish this fact of life.

Jeremy Lin is not responsible for the Knicks loss in Boston yesterday, their 10th consecutive loss in Boston without a win since D’antoni has taken the helm.  Not even with Rajon Rondo handing out 17 assists and grabbing 18 boards.  Rondo had 17 assists because the guys he was passing to were open, and he had 18 rebounds because the Knicks, even with Tyson Chandler, stand around and let teams play volleyball under the rim.  Perhaps Amar’e Stoudemire, D’antoni’s guy, should grab a rebound once in a while.  That would be nice.  Or even finish off a play around the rim, where he has missed what seems like hundreds of simple finishes this year, accounting for his nearly 10 point per game drop off in scoring average.  Stoudemire’s best move of the season in fact came off the basketball court, showing immense class by buying all Garden employees breakfast on Christmas morning.  Now if he could only keep a guy nine inches shorter than him off the boards here and there, or make a layup.
Jeremy Lin, in what was not his best game by any means, did still score 6 big points in the final moments of regulation, including a huge 3 down the stretch in regulation, and had a tenacious steal, that had the Knicks in position to win, until D’antoni took over. Actually, Carmelo took over first, scoring two huge buckets to give the Knicks a slim lead with 39 and again with 18 seconds left.

After the Knicks got a stop and a rebound though, D’antoni took a head scratcher time out.  While he obviously made the move to get Novak, an impressive foul shooter in the game, and while Novak was fouled and made 2, there was no guarantee that he’d have even touch the ball.  With the ball and the lead and with Boston out of TO’s, the move, as any novice knows, is to keep the clock moving.  Instead, Boston had time to scheme, and after Novak made his free throws, Paul Pierce came down and made a giant 3 to tie the game.

Now why was Pierce even allowed to take that shot?  Since putting him on the line would have all but guaranteed that the Knicks, if they could have been counted on to grab one defensive board, would have had the game locked up.  The win was all but academic at that point, save for D’antoni having his club more ill prepared for a final sequence than we have ever seen any ball club.

Knick fans should not delude themselves into thinking that D’antoni had anything to do with the emergence of Jeremy Lin, the coach’s savior.  Lin was all but cut, and began to get a little run only when Carmelo Anthony, worn from running the point which is not his job, went to D’antoni and suggested Lin play.  In D’antoni’s banana republic where the assistants had already asked for the same thing but were ignored, D’antoni takes his lineup cues from Carmelo.

And what of the dark days before Lin’s emergence when the club ran it’s mark to 8-15, and reeked of a lack of compete?  When asked for answers, the coach kept saying “let’s wait for Baron Davis to come back.”

So that’s the solution?  Wait for a guy to come back who hadn’t even yet played for the team, ever?  It’s really no wonder that they find new ways to lose all the time, and that they haven’t produced one win up in Boston in more than 5 years.

Despite so many cries to the contrary, when Donnie Walsh’s contract expired, James Dolan saw fit not to give him a new one, and exactly no harm was done to the club which is stronger today because of some excellent moves made by the front office sans Walsh.  We sincerely hope Dolan considers that bit of history when this season is over.  The next great move the Knicks make should be not retaining D’antoni, and there will be quality coaches salivating to get their hooks into this roster, which is now better than most in the league, though not without a few saddlebags still.

Especially since a 7th or 8th seeded Knicks team is unlikely to win 1 playoff game, let alone upset the Bulls or Heat. And with 2 playoff misses and 2 playoff failures on the resume in his 4 year tenure, D’antoni should be taking that resume elsewhere to find a job for next season.  If he’s still here, we predict more of the same.

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)

Fort Lauderdale, Florida native Sloane Stephens (above) raises her arms after notching her 1st major upset yesterday.

Eighteen year old American tennis prodigy Sloane Stephens is on a roll.  At the Mercury Insurance Open in Carlsbad, California, Stephens has put together what seems to be her first two match win streak, with victories over Shuai Zheng of China and Julia Goerges of Germany, who has been one of the it girls on the tour in recent months with her meteoric rise to world #2o.  Stephens is yet to lose a set this week, and blitzed the 7th seeded Goerges 6-3, 7-5 in the 2nd round round, earning her a date with Wimbledon darling Tamira Paszek in the round of 16.

Stephens played the better tennis yesterday on both sides of the ball, sharp in both her serve and return games.  The summer hardcourt swing is the season for young Americans to make waves, and Stephens is taking advantage.  She was quick all over the court and showed the consistently solid play she has only flashed at times until now.  Prior to this week, Stephens had only one barely quality win, which came in the spring over Melanie Oudin.  But you know we don’t think highly of Oudin at all, who is plummeting in the rankings after bursting on to the scene two summers ago.  Oudin fell to world #111 this week and was unceremoniously bounced with a bagel and a breadstick, 6-0, 6-1 by Britain’s Elena Baltacha in the 1st round.

While we never saw much in the tiny, pop gun hitting Oudin besides a balloon waiting to burst, Stephens is another story.  Stephens is almost 5’9, a height enough to get some stick on her serve, and she is a practiced doubles player who has great court sense and feel on the court.  In 2009 on the junior circuit, Stephens nearly completed the Grand Slam in doubles.  She took the trophy with Timea Babos of Hungary at Roland Garros, Wimbledon, and the US Open.

We have been campaigning for Stephens’ inclusion over Oudin on our severely downtrodden Fed Cup squad, and she seems on the road to claiming a place on the team, which would further accelerate her development. 

It’s also been a good week for a couple of other young Americans.  Christina McHale is nto the 4th round where she will face Agniezska Radwanska and Coco Vandeweghe, neice of former Knick Kiki Vandeweghe and local product, who is hovering right around the top 100, should move up after consecutive wins that will see her face off with Sabine Lisicki today in the 4th round.

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

Georgia Tech junior guard Iman Shumpert (above).

Basic Statistics

Year League Team GP Min Pts FG FGA FG% 2Pt 2PtA 2P% 3Pt 3PtA 3P% FTM FTA FT% Off Def TOT Asts Stls Blks TOs PFs
2008/09 NCAA Georgia Tech 31 31.6 10.6 3.4 8.7 39.1 2.4 5.5 43.8 1.0 3.3 31.4 2.8 4.2 65.6 0.7 3.2 3.9 5.0 2.1 0.2 3.7 2.9
2009/10 NCAA Georgia Tech 30 30.1 10.0 3.5 9.0 38.5 2.2 5.3 42.1 1.2 3.7 33.3 1.8 2.5 72.0 0.9 2.7 3.6 4.0 1.9 0.2 3.1 2.3
2010/11 NCAA Georgia Tech 31 32.0 17.3 5.7 14.1 40.6 4.4 9.2 47.4 1.4 4.9 27.8 4.5 5.6 80.6 1.7 4.2 5.9 3.5 2.7 0.2 2.3 2.8

 http://www.draftexpress.com/profile/Iman-Shumpert-5156/stats/#ixzz1Q9VpXmx8

We do not know what to make of this.  The whispers are that the kid can’t shoot straight.  We liked the idea of Shumpert in addition to a forward, and we were hoping that the Knicks got Faried or Singleton or fell into Kemba Walker.  If this is all they do, the jury will be out on this draft for a long time, and we doubt that this kid gives the Knicks any immediate help.
 
Knicks GM Glen Grunwald was interviewed by ESPN, and said they love Shumpert’s defense.  He also said they have a lot of ideas on how to fill out the rest of the roster.  They better.  Personally, we like Marshon Brooks way better than Shumpert, if you are going guard here, and we agree with ESPN’s panel on the notion that Shumpert was a reach.
 

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