Tag Archives: Donnie Walsh

Final tally from Melo deal

Carmelo Anthony is finally a Knick.  Its over.  Close the file on this one boys.

Late last night, the Knicks and Nuggets, with a little help from Minnesota, came to an agreement on the specifics of a deal that brought Carmelo Anthony to New York.  The place he always wanted to play.

This is the deal:

NYK Gets:
F Carmelo Anthony
PG Chauncey Billups
PF Shelden Williams
PF Renaldo Balkman
PG Anthony Carter
F Corey Brewer (via Minnesota)

DEN gets

F Danilo Gallinari
F Wilson Chandler
C Timofey Mozgov
PG Raymond Felton
Second round draft picks from 2012 and 2013 acquired in the trade with Golden State for David Lee
2014  1st round pick

Minn gets:

PF Anthony Randolph
C Eddy Curry (Expiring contract expected to be waived)

As far as numbers, this is no 15 player trade that the Nets had on the table earlier in the season but its the best that the Nuggets could get and trust me when I say that they came away with a lot.

I didn’t feel good about this trade as I went to bed last night but I talked myself into it this morning for several reasons:

1. The Knicks did what they had to do. The new labor agreement was the “phantom menace” (stolen from my friend Joel) hovering over this entire proceedings.  It was the reason the Knicks were even in trade discussions to begin with.  Had this been last year, the Knicks would’ve waited this thing out.  But with uncertainty looming and talks of hard caps and franchise player tags, they could not run the risk of losing Carmelo to the Nets who all along were as serious as cancer about getting Melo as the crown jewel when they opened up the new facility in Brooklyn.

2. To get something you have to give up something. Timofey Mozgov was NOT the hold up in the Melo trade as some have jokingly insisted.  He was yet another piece that the Nuggets insisted the Knicks add if they wanted Melo.  The Knicks felt they had given up a significant amount of their team to facilitate this trade.  But nothing comes cheap and certainly not a Top 10 offensive player in the league.  Someone who is a threat to go off for 40 on any night regardless of who’s on the court opposite him.  The opportunity to combine Melo and Amare was something they felt they couldn’t pass up and something they could not risk.

3. They remained flexible for 2012.  I think. Whatever the cap looks like next year, they will have Billups 14.2 mil expiring and Corey Brewer’s 4.96 mil expiring in 2012 and contractually only Balkman’s 1.75 mil remaining from this deal.  Money that could potentially be turned around for either CP3, Deron Williams OR Dwight Howard should the reports not be true that he’s got his sights set on Hollywood.  The CBA will have a lot to say about how this deal potentially adds up to other pieces to the Big 3 that New York has been buzzing about since Melo’s wedding back last summer.

4. Knicks didn’t lose Chemistry.  They gained talent.

The biggest problem I had was that the Knicks sacrificed too much of a good thing they had going here to get Melo.  I checked the books again and I realized a few things.  One, I’m a huge chemistry guy.  I think a team has to enjoy playing with one another to win.  Its that simple.  Glue guys do that.  The Knicks main glue guy was Amare who came into New York and immediately announced to the world that the Knicks were back and then went out during the season and backed up those sentiments with some statement wins over some of the NBA’s best.  For all the great things the Knicks did this season, they are a .500 team.  That’s not a knock on their talent, its a fair assessment of where they are.  Simply put, the Knicks got someone that will put the fear of God in defenses.  They now have 3 viable options late in games.  Their collective basketball IQ got a lot better.  Whatever chemistry they lost, will quickly be brought back with a veteran like Billups and Amare leading the way.  Nothing’s changed.  This is still Amar’e team leadership wise.

But for me there are still some troubling things about this deal that don’t bode well for the franchise.  The architect of the team that just got shipped to Denver is conspicuously quiet and I’m sure that once the deal is made official with Melo’s physical and signing the extension that he wanted all along with the team he wanted to play for all along, then Walsh will make a statement.  But anyone who believes that this deal was a Donnie Walsh move has not been paying attention.

Charles Dolan continues to value Isiah Thomas’, the GM that Walsh replaced, friendship and opinion.  Its a relationship that is troubling to say the least and with this trade cements Isiah’s place among the hierarchy in MSG.  There is no doubt whatsoever that Dolan believes everything Isiah told him because there is no doubt that Isiah convinced Dolan that if he were running the organization and NOT Walsh, that Lebron James AND Dwayne Wade would be playing at the Garden with Amar’e Stoudemire.  That star trio would’ve electrified the Garden but what Isiah says is not true.

I wrote yesterday that today’s players are much more conscious of their brand and will do anything to maximize its value.  These guys aren’t going to go anywhere just because they are told that its the right move.  They will go there because they have decided to.  The Knicks walked into that meeting certain that the allure of New York would win over Lebron and when it didn’t Isiah made his move.

Isiah can’t convince these guys of anything just like Worldwide Wes can.  According to Woj he’s also a player trying to enter the rank and file of MSG.  He wanted Lebron to go to Chicago.  They both have no pull or say whatsoever.  The danger here is that Dolan is the only one that doesn’t see that.  Dolan believes wholeheartedly in everything Isiah tells him and despite having a single brain cell in his head left that tells him that he would be in PR hell were he to bring back Thomas in an official capacity to MSG, Isiah knows he doesn’t need that.

He knows where he stands within the organization.  Donnie Walsh wanted Melo.  But at a favorable price for the Knicks.  I can’t imagine this is what he was thinking.  In his mind, he’s as good as gone within the Knick hierarchy and won’t be given a passing mention if this all results in a championship though he should.  He’s the reason the Knicks are even in the position they currently are.  He brought in Felton, and drafted Fields.  He took a chance on Amar’e and his bad knees despite all the worries from doctors and not having the contract insured.  He’s the reason there’s a buzz in MSG.  He hijacked Anthony Randolph from Golden State which enabled him to make this deal work under the rules.

This move was certainly made with one purpose in mind.  This year’s Knick team probably won’t make that much noise in the playoffs but their job isn’t over.  Yet another star player is in their sights and so that means Isiah’s influence and voice will be felt.  No matter what us Knick fans say or do, it won’t convince Dolan.  Isiah knows this and will happily accept the boos and curses on message boards if it means that ultimately he is vindicated by a Knicks championship.

That much I can respect.  As warped and twisted as he is, Isiah is convinced that his method will bring a championship to New York and I believe him when he says he wants to bring one to New York.  If he does that, great.  But his prior record shows that his way isn’t the right way.  His way won’t win titles and he isn’t the right man for the job.

The future may look bright for the Knicks now, but let’s remember that the future is uncertain.  Remember how sure we were that Lebron was coming?  Nothing is promised with this trade.  The only thing guaranteed is that Isiah will be in Dolan’s ear and his voice will still be heard.

 

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Winners, Losers and the Unknown of the Trade Deadline

Hope doesn’t just spring eternal in Florida and Arizona this time of year, its a geyser in MSG as the Knicks wiggled enough cap room to sign two max free agents.  That much we know.  What we don’t know is how everything will play out.  Like many, I was refreshing ESPN.com, SI.com, and Yahoosports.com constantly to see if any updates came through.  As Mark Cuban tweeted it was probably a better idea to “follow NBA Trade Deadline on twitter,” but I’m stuck on archaic methods.

Regardless, the trade deadline has come and gone and we have winners and we have losers of this trade deadline and much to process on both ends:

WINNERS:

KNICKS: Of course I begin with the hometown team and the fact that they were able to move the Jared Jeffries salary, and they were able to move Nate Robinson and move a few guys to get the cap space needed to go after two max free agents.  They mortgaged the next few years on the hope that LeBron makes MSG his home for the next 7 years and calls another one of his super friends to come and help out.  Of course being a Knick and Met fan I’m doomed to be pessimistic about it, but in theory this deal makes them the big winners.

ROCKETS:  Yes, they did make out.  Sure they took on another salary for next year but you always get the sneaking suspicion that Darryl Morey the stat guru MIT grad GM of the Rockets knows just a little bit more than the rest of us.  He swapped first rounders with the Knicks in 2011 and got their 2012 pick (from everything I’ve been reading on it, only the first pick of the draft would be protected in 2011 and top 5 protected in 2012 (thanks to NBA.com)) and managed to set himself up nice with a proven scorer in Kevin Martin a guy that the Kings had been telling everyone was unavailable.  Morey is banking on LeBron not going to the Knicks next summer and the Knicks being bad for the next few years and God help us if he’s right.

KINGS: I think it worked out on all ends here.  The Kings acquired cap space for this offseason where they will attract absolutely nobody but hey, its a nice thing to put on the resume.  They were able to snag two really tough physical players in Carl Landry and Joey Dorsey to play the post and be the mashers and grinders and they are staring down the barrel of a lottery pick this summer again which should help them if they pick as well as they picked last year.  Also throw in Jason Thompson and they have a developing nucleus of young guys and bigs that could make the Kings a minor contender sooner rather than later.  Only, they need another coach, sorry Reggie Theus, he wasn’t even a good coach on their TV show.  Think about that.

BOBCATS:  They got Tyrus Thomas and Theo Ratliff at the trade deadline and managed to keep DJ Augustin a guy they loved.  Larry Brown’s team will be a tough out in the Eastern Conference whomever they face in the first round.  Ten out of their 14 guys are 6’8′ or taller which gives them such an inside presence that it will be tough for teams to score on them in the low post.  They just might sneak up on a few teams in the first round.  Too bad the first round isn’t 5 games anymore, it might have been fun for this team to play a high seed under that format.

CAVALIERS: As much as the Knicks moves were geared towards getting LeBron James, the Cavs decision to trade for Antawn Jamison was to keep LeBron and they did a hell of a job in doing so.  They managed to get the better deal in getting Antawn, that coveted stretch four they were seeking, than Amare- a deal in which they would’ve had to give up J.J. Hickson, something they were not willing to do.  Amare while being more of a physical presence is only that on the offensive end, on the defensive end they are very similiar.  Where Antawn has the advantage is that he can pull a 20/10 night consistently and in more ways than Amare can and that’s what you have to love.  This move was facilitated towards keeping their young guys and also making LeBron happy.

ARN TELLEM:  Why an agent?  Easy.  Tellem had as much to do with the Knicks getting T-Mac as Donnie Walsh.  Let me explain.  When most of us woke up this morning the reports coming out of the Houston Chronicle were that T-Mac had been traded- to the Kings.  I had to stop everything I was doing to make sure I read right.  Of course the following paragraph made me breathe easier when it said they were working on getting the Knicks involved in making sure T-Mac, and more importantly the expiring contract, went to the Knicks.  But the Kings with all their leverage decided to ask for everything the Rockets were asking for, but not Jordan Hill and not the 2012 first rounder, but David Lee.  That put a speed bump in there.  Arn Tellem being the high powered broker he is, and this is just purely guessing on my part, may have called Geoff Petrie’s office in Sacramento and warned him of the dangers of stalling this trade with the Knicks.  He is after all the agent for Tyreke Evans, the guy most responsible for Kevin Martin no longer being a King.  The Kings GM being the wise man he is, decided against making the agent for his franchise player mad and decided to play nice and made sure the trade went down as it went down sending Sergio Rodriguez also.  What’s lost in this is also Tellem being the agent for Danilo Gallinari, one of the players that will be here if and when the Lebron era begins in New York and judging on how he makes every player on his team better it stands to reason that Danilo might be staring down the barrel of a nice little jump in his salary with Lebron’s arrival.  Winners all around.

LOSERS:

CELTICS: I know this may seem a bit biased but Eddie House fit the culture of Boston and the locker room Ubuntu they had going in 2008 when the Celtics won it all.  Now, they bring in Nate Robinson who among other things brings a certain flair for the dramatic and I’m not talking about game winning shots.  The goal for the C’s were to get Kirk Hinrich and send Ray Allen’s expiring contract with it but I’ve always been under the impression that you keep your best guys if you have a legitemate chance to make the playoffs.  I’m basing this rating on the fact that I’m not a huge Nate Robinson fan like every other Knick fan.  Just because he was the best player on the team for the last few years doesn’t make me automatically a fan of his, and the fact that he was should absolutely disgust Knick fans to no degree.  The Celtics just seem to be getting older and not better.  Its time to seriously think about breaking that team up and build around Rondo and Pierce.

HEAT:  In my opinion this trade deadline had to be about convincing Dwayne Wade that the Heat were going somewhere and they didn’t do that.  Now the Heat will have to sign a player a semi star first to properly convince D-Wade that Miami is a place that will be able to compete for a championship if he signs long term.  I’m not too sure they will be able to sign that guy especially when his hometown team the Bulls will have enough cap space to sign him and already have Derrick Rose in place.  Its a tempting offer and as much as South Beach offers I’m sure Wade is tired of giving up his body for a team that seems to be staying in place while everyone else seems to be getting better.  Also its never a good idea when your GM is offering up quotes on how sure he is that a player will stay when nothing has been decided.

UNKNOWN:

DONNIE WALSH:  We will see if he’s either a genius or an idiot come July 1st.  That’s when basically his fate will be decided.  Now its not fair to say that Donnie is a total idiot for giving up picks and much more to secure enough space to make those moves because let’s face it, he had to make sure he had the room to pull this off so doing that was absolutely essential but now it becomes a waiting game for Donnie and for Knick fans.  Also the free agent class of 2011 isn’t too shabby either and with Eddy Curry’s 13 million off the cap it will give them even more space but I don’t think Knick fans can wait another year for another superstar to be available if we strike out on LeBron this summer.

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Major gamble at the trade deadline scramble

Tracy- my personal hero at the Lazy Eye of Sports

First off, I want to start of by stating the obvious: i’m not a genius by any stretch of the imagination.  I’m not a GM or training to be one either.  I don’t understand the salary cap and the ramifications of deals as it relates to the luxury tax all that well either.

But people tell me that I’m reasonable.  People tell me that I have my moments where I possess something very rare nowadays in the world and that’s common sense.

So I’m going to use that power, for good of course, and reason that the Knicks trade offer to obtain Tracy McGrady is either a really smart move by Donnie Walsh or a really dumb move.  See, I don’t want to dismiss this immediately because you never know.  Here’s the trade:

The Knicks GET Tracy McGrady (expiring contract valued at 22.5 million), Brian Cook (expiring contract valued at 3.5 million), Joey Dorsey and a 2011 Houston Rockets 1st round pick *

The Rockets GET Jared Jeffries (contract valued at 6.83 million for next year), Jordan Hill (rookie, 2008 first round selection), Larry Hughes/Al Harrington# (10.02 million expiring/13.65 million expiring contract), 2011 Knicks 1st round*, 2012 1st round draft pick and MAYBE a 2012 2nd round pick.

#= The Knicks would admittedly like to send Larry Hughes so they can flip Al Harrington’s 13 mil over to the Bulls for Tyrus Thomas-  this all coming from a number of rumor mill posts.

*= NBA’s rules forbid teams from giving up consecutive first round draft picks, therefore, they have to swap these two first rounders to be playing within the rules.  Don’t you think if Isiah could, he would’ve traded away every draft pick from 2010 to 2015???? C’mon!

The Knicks during the Isiah years were known for future killing deals similiar in structure to this one.  Yet, since the stench of Isiah has wore off with time, Donnie Walsh’s reign has been about one thing: ridding himself of contracts for the summer of 2010.

During that summer, Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Joe Johnson, Chris Bosh will all be available for the low cost of max contracts.

The summer’s grocery list of super stars make for a nice discussion and a nice dream for Knick fans all the way up until July 1st.  When the clock strikes midnight and Mike D’Antoni and Donnie Walsh aren’t able to get LeBron James and one of his super friends to join him in blue and orange, then this will have been a colossal waste.  All this moving parts and pieces will have been for nothing.

In the end, this trade is for one thing: LeBron and co.  Nothing else and Donnie Walsh isn’t hiding his infatuation with being under the cap, that teams recognize this desperation and smart GM’s are willing to squeeze everything they can.  Thus, the hold up.  Thus the 50/50 chance that this deal gets done.  Because here’s the significant difference between Donnie and Isiah, Donnie will stop and think before he presses the big red button, Isiah would’ve pressed it a long time ago.  Donnie understands the ramifications of doing this and chances are, he knows something beyond what he’s revealing.

My hunch here is that Donnie heard through coach D’Antoni that LeBron and a mystery friend gave verbal agreements to come to the Knicks this coming summer.  Now, that’s all conjecture at this point and reserved for the rumor mill but let’s entertain the possibility that Donnie has this little nugget of information in his back pocket.  Doesn’t he move with confidence?  Doesn’t he move a bit more swift here?  Why give up all the draft picks for the uncertainty of 2010?

Since he took over for Isiah and mercifully put an end to that era for Knick fans, his job title might have been waste management.  As in, getting rid of all the garbage contracts that Isiah had accumulated.  While he can’t ever get this year’s draft pick back, or trade Eddy Curry’s fat corpse for a reasonable headache (yes, i’m assuming those kind of headaches exist), the fact is, he will have done everything he can to accomplish this goal.  No one ever thought he could trade Jamal Crawford or Zach Randolph’s massive contracts but somehow did it.   While most think that Donnie gets too much credit and mostly look to his final few years at his tenure in Indiana as reasons to deflate Knick fans’ optimism I’m willing to take my chances since Isiah sucked so bad.

But the risk he takes here in being so far out of the salary cap is the 900 pound elephant in the room: What is LeBron and co. don’t come?  What if he’s serious about wanting to go to a contender or a team ready to contend?  The Knicks don’t look like that team at all.  The magic that people are trying to perpetuate about New York is that if LeBron comes here, he could achieve fame and fortune like no where.

Its partially true, but its also a very nice story that New Yorkers like myself love to build up in our heads.  His fame and fortune are destined to him.  There’s nothing stopping LeBron.  He’s going to win championships.  Yes, plural.  He will be on Madison Ave, even if that’s not his mailing address.  What Donnie Walsh hasn’t done is convince LeBron that the future is promising.

But like I said thats my only worry.  For me, I do this trade.  As painful as it might be to consider a world in which LeBron James doesn’t come to New York in 2010, you have to do everything in your power to get as below the cap as you can.  Donnie may have insider information in his back pocket to consider doing this deal.  Who cares about a 2012 first rounder if we’re picking in the late 20’s?  Walsh’s entire plan rests on the completion of this trade and what happens after July 1st.  Do we HAVE to do this deal?  If you want LeBron? Sure.  Who knows, what if he wants to build a winner to his liking in New York?  What if LeBron is as infatuated with New York as Knick fans are thinking about him in blue and orange unis?  Several different scenarios will play out.

But everything will point to THIS move as either the beginning of something great, or the beginning of the end.

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