I did something silly a few weeks ago, and while I am extremely excited and in no way regret what I've done, I understand the hesitation when I tell people the news.
I bought season tickets to the Knicks.
I know! But let me explain. I split a pair of tickets with a friend of mine who's a big NBA fan. The Knicks are having a deal right now for $25 tickets, and l called up and got the best ones they had left. They're in the 400's section, but in Row A on the isle. They're about as good as 2 seats in the bargain section get. (for what that's worth.) I was on the fence about the whole thing, but being in the front row was the kicker for me.
So! Now that I've got an invested interest in the New York Knicks, I've got a few things to say about the upcoming season.
- I like the Randolph trade. Sure, interior D is a big concern when he and Curry are both out there together, but I can't figure out how any team in the East is going to defend both of them at once. When 2 players demand a double team at the same time, how on earth are there enough players on the floor to cover them both?
- Yes, it would be nice if Curry was more of the rough, down low beast that he looks like. I really don't understand how someone can be that big, yet not be able to establish himself down low without the damn ball. Perhaps having a gun pulled on him this summer will toughen him up a bit. That said tho, even with his current skill set, I still can't see how a team will guard him and not leave a shooter or Z open. He does what he does pretty well.
- If the team doesn't change from now till opening day, my biggest offensive concern is there not being a lock-down outside shooter. Between Q and Crawford, they might get by from time to time, but it's really nowhere near enough. The whole point of having a thumping post game is to draw double teams and leave shooters open, right? I'm just not happy having Nate Robinson launch 3s all night. That would kill me. It's really tough to work anything out (especially with my Artest business below going through as well,) but a Mike Miller type would be ideal. I'm looking around, and there's gotta be some shooter signed for another 3 years that a team would be willing to take Malik Rose's contract to rid of. Jason Kapono would have been PERFECT, had he not JUST signed to the Raptors this summer (awful contract, BTW.)
- Yes, this Demetrius Nichols kid would supposedly be the perfect fit for the role, but of course the team already has like 17 players signed, so they can't even bring them on even if he was good enough. 2nd Round picks always look great in July and August, but the fact that the potential answer for the shooter role got passed over by every team (some twice) is not exactly reassuring.
- I'm still confident the Knicks will make another move before the season starts. Nothing, however, will happen until the end of the month, when Dickau and Fred Jones can be moved. These guys represent about $6 Million in expiring contracts that are the key to anything happening. They can't be traded until two months after they were last dealt, which I believe is August 28th or so.
- Lets just assume that Kobe is out of the question. The Lakers, like the Knicks, are not going to blow up the team and put a bunch of rookies, projects and scrubs on the court for an entire season or two. The Knicks can't offer them anything that would draw half the interest having Kobe on the floor does, and they're not gonna do it.
- I think the Artest rumors hold water, however. Ric Bucher recently said that the combination of the Kings looking to get rid of him, Artest's desire to come to NY and The Knick's interest in having him is too perfect a combination to not eventually work out. I was actually reading some Kings message boards this weekend, and it seems that they'd be thrilled to get the expiring contract/young talent pu-pu platter (Simmons' term.) Sounds like they'd even be content with some sort of Malik Rose deal!
- This is what they proposed:
Ron Artest $7.8mil
Fred Jones $3.3mil (ender)
Dan Dickau $2.8mil (ender)
Nate Robinson $1.3mil (ender -- team option)
Renaldo Balkman $1.2mil (ender -- team option)
1st rnd pick
Not only are their fans agreeable, but excited about it! I like Balkman in principle, but to basically trade him and a 1st rounder for a player with the ability and impact of Artest seems like a no brainier to me. He would make the Knicks an instant contender in the East. He fills their need for a 3 who can defend the parameter, rebound and score his share. And honestly, if the worst case is that he loses his mind and does something batty, at least we get to watch that trainwreck all season. It's win-win as a fan just looking for an entertaining season. if you don't make that trade (or something like it) the Knicks will struggle to get that 7th or 8th spot in the playoffs, only to get killed by The Bulls or whoever in the first round. They make that trade, there are suddenly few teams they can't run with.
- No, that doesn't directly address the shooter concern noted above, but they should be able to get someone on the cheap to come off the bench and do nothing except sit in the corner and hit open 3s. There must be an overpaid guy like that somewhere they can rope in exchange for Malik Rose' shorter deal...
- My final point is about Lee and Balkman. Listen...I like them both. A lot. I've been a David Lee fan since he won that High-School dunk contest before going to Florida. I'd like nothing more than to be able to watch him in New York for the next 10 years. But lets get real. He's an athletic, undersized power forward. He's playing out of his mind right now. I love him. But he is at the absolute peak as a player and his trade value will never be higher (Not to mention this curious, lingering ankle injury...) He might be good for 13 and 10 for his career...excellent numbers, no doubt, but not someone worth what the Knicks will surely be pressured to pay him once he becomes a Free Agent. If the Knicks insist on keeping him around to be stuck behind Z and Eddy for the next however long, it'll just be a big waste. If they can put him in a deal to net an actual good player, then they gotta pull the trigger, right? He's the type of trade asset Isiah always talks about getting to make big moves. If you keep him around just for the hell of it, it defeats the purpose. Same goes for Balkman, but on a lower scale. Sure, he's been a great surprise, but he's not getting any better. He's an energy guy. They're nice to have, but the longer they play, the more their faults are exposed. Trade them now, like they should have traded Frye after his big rookie season, cause they'll never be worth more and they'll never help the Knicks actually win. Mark my words.
I have for almost a decade now since the Knicks hit this post-Ewing, post-Van Gundy drought, exclaimed that the Knicks need to clear salary and start over. Well, now that I'm paying for this team with my actual money, I'd prefer them to win now. But hear me out...The East has a handful of very young and very well constructed teams that are built for the near future. The Knicks make a push for a real team today and they have maybe a 2 year window before the rest of the league catches up. They can really do this. The West will start getting older soon and the east will move in to balance the league. I would rather make a move now instead of when the rest of the league comes around. This is what the Celtics decided to do (they're totally fucked in 2 years, but have a shot right now)
Everyone always says you can't mortgage your future for one year. Well, you can. If your future is, at best, a 1st round playoff team for the next decade, you go for broke when you can make a serious run. Realize that David Lee will not stay in New York to be a backup, and the guys in front of him aren't going anywhere. Realize that Balkman will never look better than he does now. Get what you can and make a push. Realize how bad the East is right now, and how much better it will be in 3 or 4 years.
Do I have faith that Isiah can pull this off, either as a Coach or a GM? No way. But I'm prepared for whatever. I'm invested.