The Glory-torium is now open in the basement of this blog, check your cynicism at the door. Knock three times and give the doorman the secret words, "In Phil We Trust".

Ladies and Gentlemen: The Gloritorium

Amare Stoudamire: "It's like Ground Hog's Day again." 12/09/14

Friday, December 19, 2014

Taking Stock of the Knicks - Part 3

Losing with Dignity 

Let's examine some strategies for a graceful descent into the lottery.

Previous Recommendations

In previous recommendations, I suggested that Melo be shut down for medical attention.  In the first third of the season he has been playing too many minutes and trying to do too much.  He remains, for better or worse, a foundation stone for a better Knicks future.  This already looks to be in process.

In that same spirit, the Knicks should eat Stoudamire's salary and release him to a playoff contender. He has played admirably and deserves an opportunity that he can never get here; to play for a ring.

Trade Period Strategy

I also identified likely keepers and likely trade assets that could and should be used to improve our chances of creating a more stable core of players with an eye toward a high lottery pick and a cost-effective FA rotation player signing.

Given that Rajon Rondo is now a Mav and that Marc Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge will likely stay put, the summer FA pickings will likely be slim.  That means that any Cap Space that the Knicks can free up this summer need not be enough to sign two Max deals since two Max players will not be there to sign.  It's hard to imagine Jackson overpaying a mediocre talent just to make a signing.  However, that makes our expiring contracts that much more valuable on the open market for teams who are in need of cap space relief.

Of the top ten teams who will be in the tank for cap space and tax relief next year, GS, the Cavs, Clips and the Bulls are most likely to tinker with their rosters surgically to improve their chances of winning.

GS and Chicago has nothing of interest trade-wise unless its a NY player for a pick.

Cavs/Knicks Trade Proposal

The Cavs have a problem child on their hands in Dion Waiters.  They also have both a Heat and Grizzlies first-rounder that they can deal.  Furthermore they need rim protection.

Larkin and Dalembert for Waiters, Amundson, and the Heat #1 pick 2015

Knicks will be rolling the dice on Waiters as a project, Amundson is pure filler, the pick useful.

Cleveland gets Dali as a capable backup  and cleanup big, Larkin gives Cleveland a backup guard who can change the tempo and adds some defense.

Clips/Knicks Trade Proposal

Jordan Farmar and the Clippers 2015 first-rounder for Prigioni and Acey.

Clippers unload a headache and get a solid second wave PG and gritty PF.

Knicks open up a roster spot as well.  Prigioni gets to play for a contender.

So now let's talk about the Nets, Denver, the Heat, T-Wolves,Wizards, Hornets and Pacers.  Of that field only the Heat, Wizards, and Pacers may be trading to improve their playoff aspirations.  And of those teams the only obvious trade conversation might involve Lance Stephenson. Talented as Stevenson is, it's unclear whether or not he would be welcome as a Knick.  We'll leave that speculation aside.

The rest are also unlikely trade partners as they are in competition with us to land a lottery pick and most of their players who might be available are older or have contracts of less interest.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Knicks Lose to Chicago 103 - 97

Cole finally gets a chance to play and has a great game.

Stat, Wear, Hardaway, and Calderon all with strong scoring.

Poor shot selection near game's end kills the momentum.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Taking Stock of the Knicks Part Two

Losing with Dignity (continued from: )

Let's examine some strategies for a graceful descent into the lottery.

Honoring the True Believers II

Releasing Amar'e Stoudemire was my first recommendation based on the presumption that we are serious about our lottery pick chances (and there's no reason at this point to try and make the playoffs just to fall short there AND lose lottery position).

Aside from Amar'e, Carmelo Anthony has a number of nagging and unattended injuries that need tending to.  What better time than the present to go and get all the surgical stuff completed with the intention of finishing the season with the recalibrated version of the Knicks.  Rather than playing Anthony into the ground, he needs to find some good doctors and get well soon but not too soon.

With those two players in a far, far better place than on the court we can begin to take a practical inventory of what we have and what we need.

Mid-year Keepers

JR Smith - his injury is such that he won't pass a physical in any trade scenario.
He's no longer a sixth man of the year by any stretch of the imagination and he's worn out his welcome with fans and the powers that be, both.  For his own career, he needs a fresh start.
Jose Calderon - an expensive contract that will be very difficult to move. Reluctantly a keeper.

Jason Smith - I think Phil likes his toughness.

Cole Aldrich - no trade clause.

Cleanthony Early - likely a keeper

Travis Wear - unlikely to hold trade value.

Moveable Assets

Shane Larkin - a young PG who will be a FA at the end of the year who the Knicks could only resign at less money than the next team.

Andreas Bargnani - Acquired in what is possibly the most malicious Knicks trade of all time. Inspired by power crazed agents whose administrative creep within the Knicks organization poisoned the well.  Bargnani's only real value is as an expiring contract.  Should Phil gaze into the crystal ball and realize we are unlikely to sign premiere talent this summer, expect Bargnani's already packed bags to move.

Samuel Dalembert -  a veteran center who still holds some value but is only taking minutes from the youth. Very moveable.

Iman Shumpert - Erratic, Young, still holds some value.

Pablo Prigioni - Best Point Guard on the team who deserves to play for a contender.  Belongs in the True Believers Bucket List.

Tim Hardaway, Jr - Dynamic, young shooter whose defense is often MIA and whose basketball IQ is questionable.

Quincy Acy - An undersized energizer bunny of a forward.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Taking Stock of the Knicks Winter 2014 Part One

Taking Losing Seriously

With a record of 5 and 22, we are almost a third of the way through the season.  The record speaks for itself but yet does not tell the whole story.  This season represents a clash of conflicting expectations and interests.

The only team worse than NY is Philadelphia which arguably is strictly a proxy set of NBA bodies who entire purpose this season is to do little more than show up and look as if they're playing a game.  If we list the bottom ten teams jockeying or soon-to-be jockeying for draft position we have, PHI, NY, DET, Minn, Utah, CHAR, LAL, IND,Boston, and ORL.  A mere 5 win difference exists between the Knicks at 5 wins and Orlando at 10.  And Brooklyn may join the race down.  All of which is to say that the Knicks need to take losing seriously if they are in fact trying to take advantage of their draft pick.

The Passive/Aggressive Paradox

This necessity to leverage what is looking to be a lost season toward the wishful reward of landing a top draft pick is paradoxical.  Both Jackson and Fisher have publicly taken the outspoken position that the Knicks are trying to establish a culture of winning and restoring a degree of pride and integrity in the organization.  Preseason optimism included the desire to make the playoffs - something that might require over 37 wins.  With 55 games left, that possibility seems distant and unlikely - not impossible - but requiring an immediate and sustainable Cinderfella-like turnabout.

While some degree of adjustment to a new coach and a new system was expected to make the early going a bit rocky, no one predicted such a total inability to win games.  Nor did anyone expect the individual players to all play so poorly.  Statistically, Carmelo Anthony and Stoudemire appear to be having good career years, the losing record and the dysfunction of team play do nothing to add veracity to their numeric accomplishments.

All of this makes visible a disconnect on the part of Jackson, Fisher, Melo, and Stoudemire all of whom continue to seemingly advocate winning games.  This is professional and admirable but as we've pointed out, counterproductive.  Winning dampens the opportunity for a higher draft pick.

To complicate matters, in a recent press conference Phil Jackson indicated that he was not about to trade players for the sake of making a trade nor were trade opportunities "jumping out" at the Knicks.

This presents a troubling trajectory and indicates that Jackson either has an irrational belief that the Knicks as constituted can turn the season around and win with purpose (say, to make the playoffs) or more cynically, that these players are largely placeholders to be replaced at season's end with better or at least newer talent. It's perfectly understandable if the players on the bubble might be getting nervous.

Losing with Dignity

To cut to the chase, it seems to me that the best recourse is to accept the failure of this campaign to win games and to leverage the act of losing toward securing the best draft pick possible.  Rather than debate who that player might be, let's assume it's the best player available  when the draft is held.

Once a decision like this is reached then a number of steps need to be exercised to minimize the collateral damage to professional reputations of the coaches, players, and staff.  After all, to maintain a season long pretense that the team is trying to win not only wears on the team's staff, it damages credibility and goodwill.

Let's examine some strategies for a graceful descent into the lottery.

Honoring the True Believers

Amar'e Stoudemire has proven he can still play, play hard, and big minutes.  He is also a warrior trying to win every game.  If losing is the intention then Amar'e needs to be moved.  But that isn't easy. His salary if allowed to expire represents mythically valuable cap space for free agent signings. At the same time, it is cruel and unnecessary to have him waste whatever he has left in the tank on an exercise in futility.

He deserves better.  IMO, the Knicks should release him soon enough to catch on with a contender.

He's untradable because of the size of his contract, not because of talent or the size of his heart.  The Knicks could open up a roster spot and create some goodwill by letting STAT compete for a ring.

Knicks Crushed by Mavs - Score Irrelevant

Terrible, all too common loss.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Knicks Lose to Raptors 95 -90 in OT

Lottery Bound

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Knicks Beat Celtics 101 - 95

Shump dislocates shoulder.

Saturday, JR found to have foot injury.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Spurs Beat Knicks 109 - 95

Wednesday night, Melo out - all Spurs starters out.

Oh, well.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Knicks Lose to Pelicans 104-93

Played well for three quarters,

Friday, December 5, 2014

Hornets Beat Knicks 103 -102

Kemba drives with 4 seconds left.

End of story.


Ye Newe Glory-torium

Here, dear readers, is the final resting place of all weary Knicks fans. Yes, here is where one comes when the Triangle refuses to have three sides, when biting one's lip from losing to win later is one loss too far,or when said fan simply hits 'rock' bottom. In short, "the ship be" eternally "sinking" here. Welcome aboard, rearrange the deck chairs as you please.