Marc Stein is reporting that the Knicks and Raptors are discussing a Kyle Lowry trade in exchange for Raymond Felton and another player from the Knicks. Steiny Mo stops short of reporting that Iman Shumpert, who has been included in rumors for Kenneth Faried, Rajon Rondo (someone actually took that seriously enough to report it), and David Price, is the second player.
A swap of Lowry for Shump and Felton would be a good move for both teams on the court. Lowry is a better penetrator and more tenacious on defense so he would be an upgrade over Felton. For that upgrade the Knicks would give up a promising (?) young player who is willing to work on defense. Assuming Felton does not pull a Portland and sulk his way to the bench, he would be a nice compliment to Greivis Vasquez on a rebuilding Raptors team. The Knicks would also free up a roster spot for Jeremy Tyler or another badly needed big man so there is added value in the Knicks doing a two for one. Continue reading
The great Masai Ujiri worked his magic again this weekend by dumping Rudy Gay and Rudy Gay’s contract on the Kings. Ujiri has done a masterful job of purging the team of the awful contracts signed or traded for under Bryan Colangelo’s watch (see Fields, Landry). Most writers and fans view the trade as a clear win for the Raptors and a clear loss for the Kings who continue to surprise no one with the organization’s lack of vision. Yet, the woeful, pitiful, and Shaqful Kings organization were smart enough to not include draft picks to acquire Rudy Gay. Continue reading
The shooting guard market is starting to set. Earlier today, J.J. Redick signed a four-year deal for $27 mil with the Bucks before being shipped to the Clippers in the Eric Bledsoe trade. A few hours ago, Kevin Martin signed a four-year deal between $28-30 mil. Frank Isola, tweeted that both deals are similar to what the Knicks can offer the enigmatic J.R. Smith. Isola could be right, but a lot depends on the NBA’s financial audit and your definition of similar.
The Knicks have Smith’s Early Bird rights, which gives them the right to sign him to a four-year deal starting at the league’s average salary from the previous season or 175% of Smith’s 2012-13 salary (see Question 25 of Larry Coon’s CBA FAQ). In 2011-12, the average player salary was $5,048,000, and less than the estimated $5,380,000 (see Question 31). The estimate for 2012-13 is $5,276,000. If that estimate is correct then the Knicks can offer Smith a four-year deal, with 7.5% raises from the first-year salary, worth $23,478,200. Martin’s contract is potentially worth 25% more, so the dollars are not too similar. On the other hand, Martin is probably seen as the more valuable player, and certainly the safer investment. Continue reading
Yes, this is a Knicks blog, but the team’s offseason “splash” already happened with the pretty disastrous Andrea Bargnani trade. Signing vet minimum guys like Elton Brand could be worse, waiting for JR to determine whether he will get more than the non-taxpayer MLE is intriguing, and hoping that Pablo and Cope will split the taxpayer MLE is mildly exciting. Of course, none of those moves are as exciting as the Dwight Howard free agency watch.
According to reports from most sites, based on anonymous sources as usual, the Rockets have emerged as the frontrunners to land Howard. From a strictly basketball perspective, it’s difficult to see how the Rockets are not at the top of Dwight’s list. James Harden is a top ten player in the league, and, in his age 23 season, lead a skeleton Houston roster to the playoffs by averaging 26 ppg (3rd in the league) with a 23 PER (11th in the league). Howard and Harden would make a pretty devastating pick and roll combination. Heck, Omer Asik somehow averaged 10 ppg (in only 30 mpg) by setting screens for Harden and Lin. Dwight also seemingly has a pretty good relationship with Chandler Parsons who, in all seriousness, is good enough to be the third banana on a conference finalist.
Howard knows all this, and he all knows that if the Rockets are going to win a championship, Parsons or Lin cannot be the team’s third best player. According to the Jonathan Feigen at the Houston Chronicle (via Deadspin), Daryl Morey was asked, “how the Rockets were built to position themselves to be able to offer a second max contract.” That sounds a little ridiculous considering the Rockets just declined options on Carlos Delfino and Aaron Brooks, as well as traded Thomas Robinson for picks and international players to get just enough cap room to offer Howard the max. On closer inspection, the idea of the Rockets obtaining Dwight Howard, and a second max-player like Josh Smith is not that ridiculous. Continue reading
Things have been dark here at Knicks Bricks for a long time, but our temporary shut down coincided with the Knicks brightest season in 13 years. There just wasn’t as much to criticize/complain/tweak, and for whatever reason that makes blogging more difficult (at least for me). Sadly, Adrian Wojnarwaski just posted that the Knicks obtained Andrea Bargnani for Steve Novak, Marcus Camby, a future first rounder, and two future seconds.
We’ve seen this movie before with the Knicks and new Raptors GM, Masai Ujiri, in 2011. Back then the current executive of the year was running the Denver Nuggets who needed to rid themselves of the Carmelo Anthony circus. Even though the Knicks had cap room to sign Melo as a free agent, and should have had more leverage than the Nuggets, Ujiri patiently waited until James Dolan forced Donnie Walsh into an overpay. Like with Melo, it appears that the Knicks were bidding against themselves for Bargnani. Raptors fans had already turned on the 2006 number one overall pick and began to boo him when he entered the game. And therefore, before he eventually exhibited the lack of effort that results in a 7-footer averaging 4.8 rpg in 30.3 mpg for his career. Last season his 7.6 rebounding rate was dead last among the 70 qualifying power forwards. So major credit to Ujiri for getting a first rounder, and two second rounders in what should have been a salary dump/PR move. Continue reading
If the season ended today, Mike Woodson would either win Coach of the Year or finish second to Mark Jackson. The Knicks have exceeded the expectations of even the most optimistic fan (Bakeshow), and Woodson has gotten guys with reputations of being difficult to coach to buy into the team concept. He has masterfully blended the strengths of Chandler’s pick and roll game with the brilliance of Melo’s isolations. The team is on a record-breaking pace for fewest turnovers and most three-pointers ever made. The play calling after timeouts reminds us that Woodson can be just cerebral as his former boss Larry Brown, and he is able to do it without the baggage that comes with Brown. His goatee is immaculate and he could make more money if quit coaching and wrote books on grooming facial hair. Mike Woodson has even made me forget about another Mike who used to coach the Knicks. It has been an amazing season.
I may (deservedly) be struck by lightning for questioning Woodson’s rotation since the Felton injury, but why is JR Smith not starting? Continue reading
Last night the MVP chants at the Garden were easily the loudest I can remember for a Knicks player, and probably the loudest I’ve heard for any player (perhaps Kobe and LeBron had louder chants as visitors, but I doubt it). The MVP chants are relatively new to NBA arenas and started after Patrick Ewing retired, meaning Melo’s biggest rival in a Knicks uniform was likely Amar’e Stoudemire early in the 2010-11 season. So it’s not exactly a tremendous accomplishment to be the best Knicks MVP candidate in two decades, although Amar’e was playing well during his team record streak of 30 points per game. Still that shouldn’t detract from Carmelo’s performance a little more than a way a quarter of the way into the season.
In the last two games he has raised his game to another level by scoring 75 points and shooting 64% in only 67 minutes. The scorching play has ascended Anthony up to third in PER behind LeBron and Durant, and back to second in scoring behind Kobe. Right now Carmelo Anthony is a legitimate MVP candidate and could very well be the current favorite to win the award. Last night during the TNT telecast, Charles Barkley said that Melo would get his hypothetical vote for MVP because he was the best player on the team with the best record. Ignoring that Oklahoma City has a better record, and therefore Durant should win applying his logic, Barkley’s perspective on voting criteria is likely shared among actual voters. More broadly, voters can experience “voter fatigue” and vote for someone new or fall in love with the best story/narrative. Continue reading
Still undefeated at home
Coming off a difficult loss Saturday night in Chicago, the Knicks returned home to the Garden to face a Nuggets team which they are all too familiar following the Melo blockbuster that brought the Knicks’ MVP candidate to the Big Apple, while shipping out fan (read: “my”) favorite, Danilo Gallinari. Melo returned from a two game absence to pace the Bockers with 34 points against his former squad, as the Knicks needed another 4th quarter comeback to put away the young, deep and athletic Nuggets. In what now seems to be the norm for this team, the Knicks seemed to turn up the volume to 100 when it mattered, picking up key stops, hitting huge shots and not only trimming a late deficit, but to put away the game comfortably. As usual, Kidd was finding all the right guys, Tyson was making all the big plays and Melo and Co. hit shots when it mattered. Another nice win for the Knicks, who travel across the river to BK on Tuesday, and then “return” home for 6 straight in the Garden, where they remain undefeated. Continue reading
Ray took his talents to South Beach
As I am being constantly reminded this morning by all my buddies that are Wizards fans (I know, hilarious) down here in the DMV, last night was just a regular season game, and in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t mean a hell of a lot. And, to an extent, they are right. Come April, irrespective of which team won by 20 last night, both these teams will be in the playoffs, likely with home court and this game will just be a distant memory. But, one of my favorite things about the NBA regular season is that you get to watch a team grow, evolve, degenerate and change identities as the year goes on. So, yes… you can’t hang too much on a single game, but there were a lot of things to love about last night’s game. Miami was coming off an embarrassing loss to the Wiz on Tuesday, had a day of rest, was at home, healthy, and looking to reassert from dominance in the wake of the season opener in the Garden. The Knicks were minus their MVP candidate in Melo and coming off a tougher than expected war with Charlotte the night before. It set up to be a game that Miami just blew the doors off the game early and often… except that didn’t happen. The Knicks’ band of merry marksman were more than up to the task, with Tyson owning the paint, Kidd orchestrating some of the most beautiful offense you’ll ever see and Ray Felton straight up ballin’. The end result was a 20 point drubbing on Miami’s home court that left their “fans” waddling out in their linen outfits mid-way thru the 4th, while the Knicks faithful serenaded the visiting heroes with chants of “Let’s Go Knicks”. Happy Birthday AC… Continue reading
Two of the Knicks four losses have come when the team abandoned the Felton/Chanlder pick and roll and went to isolations for Melo. However, with Melo out for the final two minutes and some change due to injury, the Knicks offense didn’t turn into one guy dribbling with four guys watching. Felton was able to get a nice layup to tie the score at 98, and on the previous possession Jason Kidd and Steve Novak both missed open threes. Those are good looks and in other games have a better chance of going in than forced 18 footers from Anthony (as good as he is at those). I know that the looks came off offensive rebounds, so those guys probably take those shots with Melo playing, but do the Knicks get the offensive rebounds as much/easily during hero ball? The opposing defense knows the shot is going up and has an opportunity to box out, instead of having to move and switch because of the ball movement. Of course with Melo out, that also gave JR Smith an opportunity to take the game winner with Michael Kidd-Glichrist in his face like a grill from Paul Wall. Earl the Junior’s shot was the headline grabber, but the story for me continues to be the compromise between Melo the scorer to Melo the creator (directly or indirectly). Continue reading