Monthly Archives: June 2014

Interesting Trade

ESPN is reporting the Knicks are about to trade Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to Dallas for Sam Dalembert, Shane Larkin (son of Barry), Jose Calderon, Wayne Ellington, and two second round picks in the upcoming draft. This seems like a pretty good move to me.

Sure, the Knicks are giving up the best player in Chandler, but what is Chandler at this point? He seems to be a guy who struggles to stay on the court and he isn’t getting better. Felton is an enigma and it is probably best to get him to a more gun-friendly local than New York City.

Now Dalembert is not going to replace Chandler, but he is serviceable. Clalderon is a decent, if overpaid, player and Ellington can knock down a 3. The intriguing part of this deal to me is Larkin. Larkin is clearly small, but he is an amazing athlete. If you watched any ACC basketball in 2013, you saw him everywhere while he led Miami to one of the most surprising seasons in recent years. I’m not saying he is a superstar, but he could be a very nice player for the Knicks down the line. Throw in a couple of second rounders and I think the Knicks made a good trade.

But here’s the thing, this clearly doesn’t make them better in 2014-15 and if Carmelo wants to win a title soon, you have to wonder if this is a message to him?  If you want to win a title, why would you join this Knicks team? They just traded their second or third best player. Maybe that’s the plan. Maybe the Knicks are sending a message to Carmelo to go elsewhere, hopefully in a sign and trade, and that they are going to take their lumps this upcoming season. But, they will emerge from 2014-15 with a lottery pick and plenty of cap room. That sounds ok to me.

A Study in Contrasts

It is hard not to combine the news of the Rangers amnesty buyout of Brad Richards with the news of Carmelo Anthony’s opt-out of his Knicks’ contract. Both teams play in the same building and both teams report ultimately to the same owner. Furthermore, both players wanted to come to New York and get paid big bucks.

Richards was an unrestricted free agent who signed a massive nine-year deal for $60-million. The deal was heavily front-loaded because the Rangers thought they could let Richards retire at some point down the line for a minimal cap hit. But, those rules changed after the last lockout and Richards diminished play combined with the huge hit the Rangers would take if he retired in a few seasons made a buyout necessary. It’s the bad part of the business and while some would argue that Richards was overpaid, I would ask when was the last time the Rangers went to two conference finals in three years?

Anthony could have made big bucks as a free agent, but he was afraid of NBA rules changing and ending up with a smaller contract, so he forced his way to New York and the Knicks were forced to give up a ton for him. I can’t blame him for that, the Knicks made the bonehead move. But now Anthony has opted out of his current deal against the Knicks’ wishes and they have a choice to make. They can cave in yet again and offer Melo max money,  or recognize that this represents a very unique opportunity.

The only way Anthony makes max money is in a sign and trade and the Knicks could get some significant assets back in that scenario. How about the Bulls’ two first rounders (mid teens) this year? How about Houston’s first rounder (25th) and a player?  Letting Melo walk would allow the Knicks to clear a ton of cap space for 2015 and perhaps get some assets back. If you think you can win a title with him you don’t do it, but do you? Do you really?

Thank You Henrik!

Getting swept in the Stanley Cup Finals would have stunk. This has been a magical and unexpected ride, but getting swept would have take most of the shine off of it. But the Rangers don’t have to worry about that anymore thanks to Henrik. Words are hard to find that adequately describe what Lundqvist did last night, so let’s use some stats. He made 40 saves, including 15 in the third period where the Rangers had a total on ONE shot.

So now it’s back to LA and while the Rangers should dream, I will be the wet blanket. Coming back from 3-0 is rare enough. Coming back from 3-0 against a team that has already come back from 3-0 has never happened. The Kings are a great team. They are tested and they know how to win. And yes, they overcame a 3-0 deficit in the first round of the playoffs this year. I suspect they know exactly what the Rangers are feeling right now and how dangerous it would be for them to win Game 5. I suspect they will come out and dominate on Friday night. I hope I am wrong. But if I am not, I can savor this win.