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

Phil Jackson: "“It isn't ideal,” Jackson said, referring to the alternating monthly visits with Buss. “It was not something I would necessarily bargain to do, to live away from the companion I've had for 15 years. But she said, ‘We’ll be fine.’ And there is something about being fruitful, purposeful in life.”" - Harvey Araton, NYTimes - 02/03/15


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Knicks news

Frank, the link to Knicks news at the top of the page is gone again.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Let the Trade Speculation Begin

With a little more than a quarter of the season over and the Dec.15 trade threshold in the rear-view mirror let's take a look at where the Knicks are and where they're going.

So far, all my "happy ending" narratives for this year have been running true. Porzingas has turned out to be a better player than many of us hoped he'd be this year.  And injuries have been scarce across the team roster.  And the depth of the roster looks to ensure that an injury or two will not be crippling.

Phil's roster moves have proven to be prescient.

For the Knicks to be hugging the .500 mark is a very good sign. By the three-quarter mark of the season I expect the team to continue to mature, avoid the few silly losses they've endured recently, and to have an above .500 record at that time.

That brings us to the issue of what the Knicks may be looking forward to. Jackson and Fisher are not tipping their hand and there is speculation that the Knicks are looking to complement their front-court. But before we get to that, let's recalibrate where the Knicks are and to to answer this we have to say that their record was where everyone had hoped they'd be all things being rosy.

But let's be honest here.  The Knicks as a team and as a roster are much better than anyone expected. No one has been a disappointment and pleasant surprises abound. But most encouragingly, Anthony has found his complement in Porzingas and Afflalo - he is no longer the Lone Ranger on the court and they are fully complemented by the rest of the roster.

If you are Phil Jackson or Derek Fisher you can take a deep breath and say things are looking good and the Knicks will likely secure a playoff spot. At the beginning of the season, making the playoffs was a highly contentious speculation, for Jackson it had to be a private make or break expectation.

As he looks to the horizon of the playoffs, it is hard to imagine that he's satisfied with just making the playoffs.  After all, he still has an implicit gentleman's obligation to Anthony to put together a championship team. So the question becomes, will Jackson attempt to shock the world by bulking up this year's model into something of a greater than a one-and-done playoff team?

IMO, expect something just that unexpected.

Months ago, I suggested that Calderon could or would be moved for either Brandon Jennings or Rajon Rondo.  These days the MSM speculation is honing in on Jennings who is expendable in Detroit. However, Sacramento's Catch-22 situation of be damned if you are mediocre and smart if you tank, the tanking will likely kick in soon.  But Rondo is a different post.

Another intriguing possibility is Kevin Martin. JJ Redick another should the Clippers implode before the trading deadline as they have the potential to do.

Calderon has been a pleasant surprise in the early going and providing a yeoman's effort in this early season going.  But because of his age, the likelihood of Calderon improving his play or even being as productive is questionable. moving him to the bench is certainly possible but the bench is expected to bring energy to the floor not just provide placeholder coverage.

Back to a Brandon Jennings trade. many pundits see the possibility as a high-risk, high-reward transaction. So let's examine the high-risk. Coming off an Achilles injury, its possible Jennings either functions as a deep bench substitute or simply wears a suit all season.  This would be little different than Calderon sustaining a long-term injury.  This likely wouldn't threaten making the playoffs but it could weaken the team.

For this reason I think any risky trade scenario involves dual transactions. Due to the maturity of Thomas, Cleanthony Early is very expendable through no fault of his own.  Should Jackson make a high risk trade at the high end of the roster I'd expect a smaller bet be placed at the low end to mitigate any risk taken at the high end.

IMO, moving Early somewhere where he might get some minutes is certainly possible. And Phil does well by his players in terms of putting them in a position to succeed elsewhere.

There's a handful of potential Early trades that could return either a splinter-gathering PG or combo guard who could reinforce the Knicks bench. Elijah Millsap, Jonathan Simmons, Russ Smith, Ian Clark, and Joe Harris all have a profile fitting the bill.

To more wildly speculate, I would not discount the possibility that Houston will have to re-examine their situation and attempt to rebuild on the fly. A Cleanthony Early for Jason Terry deal is not out of the question. terry would be a game-changer acquisition with eyes on a playoff run.

I'm expecting the unexpected.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Close game in Toronto or so it would seem

Carmelo Anthony is an enigma.  He plays well for the first three quarters and then loses his mind.

In the fourth quarter of the Tonto win the Knicks had a comfortable lead until Anthony decided it was about him.  Bad shots, bad judgment... scary player.

IMO, Fisher should just yank him the minute he takes a bad shot.  He's going to cost us a game or two unless he sticks to the system.

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Phil should consider cashing in his chips on Seraphin for a draft pick next year and sign N'Dour. Seraphin is playing his way out of town.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Does Carmelo Anthony Belong in the Second Unit?

The latest loss to Milwaukee yet again exposes what has become a toxic pattern with the Knicks for years.  That is that Melo is not a franchise player and never will be. The Milwaukee game was close in the fourth quarter until Melo entered the game and proceeded to eliminate any semblance of team cohesion.

The MSG talking point is that Melo still hasn't recovered his leg strength.  But honestly, his leg strength has nothing to do with bad judgment, lack of basketball IQ, and a failure to ratchet up his game as Phil had hoped.

It's time that maybe Melo might be most useful as a sixth man (JR replacement) off the bench with the hope he can score some points quickly and with the pattern of yanking him with a lead.

Calderon remains the other elephant in the Garden. He's worked his way back to being player #15 behind the available roster spot.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Roster position #15 and the Future of Jose Calderon

Recent reports indicate that the Knicks second unit featuring Grant and Galloway are trouncing the starting unit.  Furthermore, Derek Fisher has expressed a desire to sign a quick Point or Combo Guard to complement the roster.

With Derrick Williams displaying outstanding skills and Cleanthony Early also looking ready to contribute, we may see some early trade activity.

Carlos Boozer is available.  That fact puts the retention of Thomas and Seraphin who is struggling in doubt.

Jackson and Fisher and Melo are serious about winning NOW. Keep in mind Seraphin was signed at the recommendation of team players - he's not a Jackson decision to begin with. Lance Thomas is there as a comfort zone, locker-room presence for Fisher.  Both look to be expendable for the right talent.

It will come to no surprise to this writer if Jose Calderon were packaged with either or both players for a proven back-up quality PG, a future second-rounder, and/or a deep bench player who improves the team speed.

If Calderon is retained in the early going I will further wildly speculate that a mid-Dec trade of Calderon and Thomas for Rajon Rondo++ will be consumed.  There are already reports out of Sacramento that Rondo and Karl are having differences.  Rondo's last chance stop in the NBA may be with his friend Carmelo Anthony as a back-up to Jerian Grant.

A more immediate fix could involve trading Calderon for Brandon Jennings who could become player 15 while he recovers.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Pre-Pre-2015-16 Season Analysis

After months of media and fan-fueled hysteria, Phil Jackson not only acquired a second first-round draft pick but managed to take a risk on Kristaps Porzingis.  Porzingis is proving to rescue the Knicks from the blunder of winning a few end-of-season games that cost them prime lottery position. Jerian Grant the other first rounder also looks like a great investment and the by-product of the trade that brought Grant to the Knicks was the trading of Tim Hardaway.

Hardaway's lack of defense and chucking mentality will not be missed.

Nor did the Knicks resign Shane Larkin whose rookie guard play and diminutive size also cost the Knicks many games. Larkin cannot be solely blamed.  He was thrust into a starting role he was ill-equipped to handle due to Calderon's injury.

Had Jackson signed no one the jettisoning of Hardaway and Larkin would add 10 wins to the Knicks total of last year - say, 27 wins - nothing to write home about but a significant difference.

However, not only did Jackson strike it rich in the draft but he also made some modest, smart free agent signings in Robin Lopez, Kevin Seraphin, Arron Aflallo, Sasha Vujacic, and Derrick Williams. Kyle O'Quinn was acquired from Orlando.

Returning veterans are Calderon, Thomas, Early, Amundson, Melo, and Galloway.

By the end of preseason play Williams, O'Quinn, Early, Porzingis, and Grant all played surprising better than expected. Galloway is playing excellent ball.

Porzingis, Lopez, and Aflallo were all dinged up a bit during the pre-season. Calderon looks healthy and ready to contribute.

The preseason play was mixed bag with the team needing time to gel but at least this year the talent and chemistry is there.

Taking the free agents into account I'm going to predict a window of ten to fifteen addition wins over the 27 the team would win just by losing two lackluster players. So 37-42 wins assuming nothing catastrophic occurs health-wise to key players.

The Knicks may be a player away from a playoff seed but that player may be negotiated in January or February.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

New York Trade Exceptions - 2015

After the lottery proceedings the other day, Steve Mills mentioned making use of the existing Trade Exceptions the Knicks have been stock-piling.  The pundits, haters, and psycho-babble that followed in the wake of the draft results drowned out Mills' assertion.

It's an important one.  Here's why - lots of teams are strapped for cash going into July's salary negotiations. Many of them have players they'd love to jettison without assuming responsibility for additional salary obligations. For the Knicks who have cap space and an appetite to acquire more picks, here's an opportunity to both improve the roster depth AND add a pick who could work his way onto the roster or become a Westchester prospect.

Let's examine a few potential Trade exception trades.

The Travis Outlaw exception remains a dormant asset from Jackson's initial trading flurry.  It's a small one but might work in two plausible scenarios;

The TO exception for Atlanta's sg John Jenkins and pick # 50 OR for Orlando's sf Mo Harkless and pick #51.

A second small exception is the Pablo Prigioni exception.  The PP exception could plausibly be applied to the acquisition of Phoenix's Reggie Bullock and pick #44.

Two larger exceptions can be reasonably exercised as well though they impact the Knicks cap space a bit more.

The Iman Shumpert exception  could be offered to OKC for Jeremy Lamb and #14.

Finally, the JR Smith trade exception which is much larger could be offered to Minnesota for Chase Budinger and  picks #31 and #36.

ALL of the acquired players are risky acquisitions, some more than others.  Yet no evaluation of the effectiveness of Phil Jackson trades will be complete until these are factored in.

Given the fiscal state of many teams, the Knicks have great opportunity to call their own plays.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Ruminations on Picking #4

At the end of the season, the Knicks suddenly started playing as if a playoff position was at stake.  Critics of those pointless wins were admonished by saying, "the players get paid to play hard" and "oh, the players are playing for their careers" as if these last few games were going to alter career trajectories.

I criticized the winning then and I reiterate the stupidity of it now. There is a time and place for everything. Pyrrhic victories cost us a greater chance at finishing higher and it's a damned shame.

There are no basketball Gods who smiled down on us and said, "Good on you, you played hard and you deserve a better pick." No, instead the Math and statistical probability Gods said, "Don't you assholes understand arithmetic?" Is it any wonder the retired NBA players go broke in less than a decade?

The Statistical Probability Gods gave us pick #4. Let's examine the probabilities and options for the Knicks.

First and foremost we'll still need a center.  The Knicks could swap picks with someone further back in the lottery and reach for Cauley-Stein or Kaminsky.  That's probably there for them but I doubt they do that.

If the pundits are right, the Knicks will draft Emmanuel Mudiay and they'll keep him.  At 6'5", he's got the kind of size that Phil Jackson likes and the kid is still growing - how much more he grows becomes an interesting speculation.  He could improbably become the Lebron James of this draft class and under Phil's tutelage, a Michael Jordan archetype player.

Maybe there are Basketball Gods after all.

Assuming Mudiay is the pick - dominoes fall.  Gallo moves over to the two guard creating the most unique Knicks backcourt since Frazier and Munroe. Gallo is a lock down guard who can shoot - the Knicks defense is that much better and the back court is a force.

Hardaway becomes VERY expendable. Calderon as well. Signing Shved is less imperative but still a very nice option is Hardaway and/or Calderon can be moved. Corey Joseph, Reggie Jackson and the rest are no longer primary targets.

So what do we do about a center? Trading for a second, first-round pick is one possibility.  More likely, the Knicks make a Hail Mary pass at Marc Gasol.  Simultaneously, I think they make a strong move for DeAndre Jordan, a pragmatic and effective druther.  And the Knicks will no longer be competing with LA for their talents.

Greg Monroe is publicly rumored as another target, one that I'm less enthusiastic about. Holdovers Jason Smith and Cole Aldrich are as good as many of the lesser FA options. Robin Lopez may be the Dark Horse candidate.

That leaves room for another FA signing. Aldrich? Butler? Danny Green? DeMarre Carroll? Lots of interesting possibilities.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Will the Knicks Acquire Another 2015 Draft Pick?

It seems that this may be a distinct possibility.  Until we know the draft order, its a recursive argument about which player will get chosen at the top of the draft.

Instead let's consider the possibility that the Knicks can move Calderon or Hardaway for another pick.  There's been some chatter that OKC could fiscally benefit from trading their pick.  Dallas too may be looking to retool a bit after the disastrous Rondo trade.  The Knicks might have an opportunity to grab a second first round pick if any of that is true.

I mention it only because, after watching the combine, both Justin Anderson and Terry Rozier look to be sleepers in that teens range of picks.

Rozier has a Dwayne Wade swagger to his game that's intriguing.  Anderson, a high basketball IQ, potential 3&D complement to Melo

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A Knicks 2015 Free Agent Primer

Let's take a look at free agents who might be interested in playing for the Knicks and who the Knicks might consider good fits.  We'll assume that Melo is the only sure starter and we'll only qualify candidates by a front-court or back-court draft pick.

PG candidates - Of the big four (Dragic, Knight, Rondo, and Jackson), Rondo may be the one who bolts his current team.  That could happen because of Rondo's personality.  If he does, there is the rumor that he will team with Melo.  But there's a very real problem with that - Rondo will want big bucks for the downside of his career.  Willing as Rondo may be to come, it's unlikely that Phil Jackson rolls that way, it would make no long-term sense to do so.

And neither Knight nor RJackson represent a franchise changing talent - desirable, sure - max money, no -  *unless* the Knicks just can't attract anyone else.

Two more likely candidates emerge - Lin and Beverly, both of whom can likely be signed at a cap friendly price and both of whom actually represent value to the team. Gallo, Shved, and either FA would be great talent and depth.

SG candidates - Here's not only where the Knicks have real need but real Free Agent opportunity. Of a crowded field, Gerald Green, Afflalo, Lou Williams, KT McDaniels, Gerald Henderson, and Gary Neal all might be priced right and fill an important role. John Jenkins being a dark horse candidate here as well.  A very  interesting mix.

Here is where draft candidates get interesting as well. We'll talk about that in a later post.

SF candidates - Draymond Green would be a marvelous coup but the odds are long Middleton, Carroll, and Barnes are next best candidates.  At the right price Derrick Williams or Dunleavy may be worth considering.

PF  candidates - Knicks need a rock-solid backup here.  Jason Smith may be enough. Hard to imagine Millsap wanting to play second fiddle. Amir Johnson would be a coup.  Hansbrough a reasonable bench pick-up.

Center candidates - DeAndre Jordan is not out of the question should Phil draft for a guard.  Monrow is rumored, Brandon Wright an inexpensive choice.  Robin Lopez and Kanter longshots.

Necessities

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.