”Off” Season

It’s that time of the year again. The time when the Knicks usually make more noise than in the regular season and in the playoffs. I’m of course talking about the off season.

4 days in and here is what we know so far.

Players and their agents are still using the Knicks for leverage to get the most out of the deal with the team they really want to play for. Jason Kidd has made a habit out of using the Knicks to boost his pay in free agency and 2012 was no different. Steve Nash, meanwhile, lives in NYC in the summer but supposedly he chose L.A. in the end over the Knicks because he wanted to be close to his children (rrrrrrriiiiiiiiight). At least we were not the ones to get hit the worst by Nash flirting ways, as Toronto went all in with a 36 million dollar offer and the “Jersey Shore grenade” signing of Landry Fields to go with it.

What else do we know? We know now that the lockout was a complete smoke screen. Wasn’t the whole point that player salaries had gotten out of control and needed to be lowered to reasonable levels otherwise the teams would go under financially? Phoenix owner Robert Sarver was one of the stingiest and toughest negotiators during the lockout, so how does he explain throwing max money on Eric Gordon just a half-year later, not to mention signing Beasley and Dragic to massive deals as well? And on that note…

… how about the old term “you don’t know what you got until it’s gone”? Phoenix traded away Dragic for Aaron Brooks and a pick and a season later they are signing Dragic to 30+ MUSD. And what about the Rockets who gave away Jeremy Lin for nothing and now wants to sign him for 40 MUSD just 25 starts later? These guys are really smart I can see why they have the best jobs in the world. And while we’re on the Rockets…

Daryl Morey. Has there ever been a more falsely glorified GM? The dude captained a ship that missed the playoffs for three straight years and still he is constantly praised by the media for no other apparent reason than being smart with numbers. But this isn’t The World Championships of Microsoft Excel, this is the NBA. And in the NBA you don’t win by throwing 8 million per year on a back-up center. That team is officially going nowhere ever since taking the to-be-champs Lakers to 7 games a few years ago. But hey, keep singing Morey’s praises for reaching another 9th seed in the years 2013-2020, and in the meantime we can all wait for the basketball version of Moneyball starring Seth Rogen as Daryl Morey to premier in 2021.

But how bout them Knicks you ask? 4 days in to free agency and I’m already reading that New York is considered one of the free agency losers so far. If by loser people are referring to NOT giving away millions on marginal players as mentioned above, than I’m more than fine with that. Isiah Thomas is no longer in charge and I think we can all agree that panic button signings is not the way to go. Still, Grunwald needs to add pieces if we want to at least reach the second round or better, and by the looks of things, since the free agents on the market are being over priced this task seems harder and harder.

Most importantly, Grunwald needs to make a decision on Jeremy Lin and I’d be shocked if he wasn’t re-signed (unless he was packaged in a sign-and-trade). I am all for keeping Lin, even with a so called poison pill contract for years 3 and 4. No matter how you slice it, Jeremy Lin brought the most excitement to the Knicks since reaching the finals in 99. You don’t throw that away just because of a small sample size or the fact that he was injured at the end of the season.

Also, we need to re-sign JR Smith in my opinion, but can we really keep him for around 3 million per year? With all these scrubs making 5-10 million a year, do I really think Smith would be fine to take half or a third of what players that are not better than him make? I’m not convinced, but I’d be impressed if Grunwald pulls it off.

Steve Novak. The best pure three-point shooter I’ve ever seen in a Knicks uni (in transition and un-guarded). But the man couldn’t hit the ocean with a stone in the playoffs when people were actually guarding him. For the right price, I’m good with Novak returning, but if it becomes any sort of bidding war, forget it, bring in some more defense instead.

Landry Fields. Have a great time in Toronto. You should send a thank you card to Grunwald and Nash and be thankful for all the annual April-November vacations you will enjoy counting your 20 million.

That concludes the free agent decisions on the current Knicks, so where do we go from here? From where I sit, I think signing Raymond Felton and Marcus Camby would be a good play, given the market and the limited funds we have to spend. Felton has proven he can work in New York and that he can ball together with Amar’e. How about Felton and Stoudemire off the bench as a scoring 2nd unit? And with Marcus Camby to spell the sans-Chandler minutes (plus as insurance for all the Tyson foul trouble games).

Is there a think-big move out there? Well, the obvious one would be Dwight Howard. I don’t like the guy, he seems childish with flip-flopping agendas, appears fragile and petty while at the same trying to be Superman with a goofy-cartoonish side competing in a likability contest. So in terms of the personality I’d like to root for, I’d much rather have Tyson Chandler or Stoudemire (or basically anyone else on the Knicks or even in the league for that matter). But if there ever is an opportunity to trade for Dwight Howard, in terms of talent, I can’t see how you don’t make that trade almost regardless of the asking price. Tyson Chandler plus a Jeremy Lin sign-and-trade may be an option? Or Chandler and Stoudemire, while taking back Hedo. I don’t know and I don’t really care, if we have an opportunity to get the top 3-5 player in the league (depending who you ask) you have to take it. Especially when the Knicks play in the only city that Howard has previously declared he wants to play in. The fact that the only team he wanted to play for was the Nets, that would only be icing on the cake if we manage to get him. Let’s face it, Dwight Howard only wants to feel loved, let’s give him that. After a full season at MSG, do you really think he’d ever turn us down when we’d have his bird rights and could give him the most $$$ out of any team in the league? I didn’t think so.

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