Jump for a look at the Knicks year long campaign to bring LeBron James and (his) friends to the Big Apple!
Before we look at the present and project the future, let's hit the rewind button on our 80's boombox real quick...
The Coast II Coast Throwback: From the Bay to NY
"Put a little mustard on it!"
PJ tells Spree to put a little mustard on it. Spree chokes PJ. Warriors suspend Spree and try to nullify his big money contract. Judge says no (I still to this today don't understand why). Warriors "banish" Spree to NY where he goes on to resurrect his career, help lead the Knicks to the 1999 NBA Finals and 2000 Eastern Conference Finals, a mild first round upset of the Toronto Raptors in 2001, and feed his family for a few years too.
Spree had a ton to smile about back then when he could feed his family.
The Warriors continue their playoff drought with the likes of Chris Mills, Terry Cummings, and headliner John Starks.
This didn't happen in Oakland.
Winner: New York, New York
The miraculous herbal cure for sore backs not found in Oakland
Al Harrington's back was hurting and he couldn't play. He gets shipped to NY. He's back! (sorry bad joke)
What helped Al's back?
Is it the shoes? Or is it being on a different coast than Don Nelson?
Jamal Crawford goes on to drop a half-Wilt for the Warriors. Shortly after that Nellie asks him to trade him his jersey for a suit and opt out. JC gets moved to a playoff squad right before draft day 2009. (Think he misses the Knicks or Warriors right now?)
Winner: Atlanta, Georgia
Indian Cooking 101
Curry in New York has way too much ghee, but Curry in the Bay Area is just right.
Big bottle of ghee for a big man.
Seriously Eddy- put the bottle down and walk away slowly.
Winner: Oakland, CA
Rewinding 2k8-2k9 Season
Record Last Season: 32-50, 14th place in the Leastern Conference (out of 15 teams)
Last year was all about 2 things: 1) Opening up dollars for 2010 and 2) Mike D'antoni.
There's no doubt the Knicks did a pretty good job at #1. They found some suckers to take on the past-2010 contracts of Zach Randolph and Jamal Crawford. Those suckers are of course none other than Warriors South and Clippers North. Some reports said that the Kings were willing to play the role of that 3rd sucker from the Pacific Division and take Jared Jeffries contract if just crowned 2k9 Slam Dunk Champ Nate Robinson was part of the deal. The Knicks said no and it could potentially slightly hurt them in the near future but in the recent past and present I could see why it was hard to say goodbye to Krypto-nate. He's one of the few entertaining aspects of the New York Wait For LeBrons.
One of the only FANtastic parts of the 2008-2009 New York Knicks.
As for #2 the results are mixed. D'Antoni did help inflate Crawford and Randolph's stats helping their Westward shipments and he did keep the Knicks realistically in the playoff hunt for the last playoff seeds in the East till the last month or so of the season. However, the Knicks pretty much choked down the stretch, finishing the season 3-7. At the end of the day the Knicks record last season mirrored the record they had in their first season season under GM/ Coach/ "Not the Ladies Man" Isiah Thomas in 2006-2007. I can't say I'm all that impressed, but jury's still out till the 2010-2011 season.
2k9 Offseason Rewind
Memo to Knicks front office: It's not 2000. For some reason the Knicks seemed fixated on signing Jason Kidd and Grant Hill. Probably the league's most underrated point guard last season Ramon Sessions was theirs for the taking, but they decided to let the Minnesota Timberwolves win the Guiness World Record for most point guards on a lottery team- Ay caramba! It makes sense why they didn't want to add on another long term contract, but then why pursue Kidd and Hill? Were either of those two guys near-retirement really going to make great recruiters for the 2k10 free agent class? Doutbful.
I remain puzzled why the Knicks didn't make a more concerted effort to bring Allen Iverson to the Big Apple. AI was The Answer for the Knicks on so many levels. His camp was obviously willing to accept a 1 year deal, which is incredibly rare for a superstar with his resume, so the Knicks could have preserved their valuable 2010 cap space. Iverson would have entertained under D'Antoni's system and if it worked out it could be another chip in the 2010 offseason.
As of this writing solid young Knickerbockers (and great Isiah Thomas draft picks by the way) David Lee and Nate Robinson remain unsigned, but pretty much everyone around the league expects them to be back next season in NY on 1 year deals. That's a good thing. Both are very solid role players, especially Lee. Holding onto their Bird rights and adding them to the 2k10 and beyond core could be key.
Overall it was an incredibily uneventful summer for the Knicks. The 2009 Knicks summer rates right up there in terms of meaningless-ness (there's that word again) with the Golden State Warriors summer (there's some symbiotic-ness for you again too!). But in the grand scheme of things I do want to give the Knicks front office some props for not locking themselves into any contracts that they'd regret next summer. It seems like a no brainer, but remember this is a league where teams outbid and ink Elton Brand, Baron Davis, Gilbert Arenas, Corey Maggette, and Stephen Jackson to lucrative extensions and free agent deals, then just a few months later are willing to ship them out in non-basketball trades just to get their contracts off the books. Common sense isn't that common in your average NBA front office. I hate to say it, but there's too many dumb ex-jocks running the ship in the wrong places.
Projecting 2k9-2k10 Season
Let's keep things simple. Eddy Curry and Al Harrington are not exactly Patrick Ewing and Charles Oakley- especially on the glass. Larry Hughes is not John Starks. Chris Duhon is not the 90's PG combo of Chris Childs/ Charlie Ward. Darko Millicic is no Anthony Mason- although he's arguably just as scary.
- Eddy Curry has a fool's gold comeback all the way to the All-Star break and then Walsh finds some sucker to trade an expiring contract or use a trade exception on the most 1-dimensional low post scoring machine this league has ever seen. (If you could merge the skillsets of Baby Bulls Curry and Tyson Chandler you might have the near-perfect big man. You'd just be missing the passing.) Let's hope that sucker isn't Robert Rowell.
- Somehow and someway Walsh finds a way to dump the 2 years and $13.4 million left on Jeffries contract before the summer. Just a thought: Jeffries for Stephen Jackson doesn't helps the Knicks open up salary cap space, but it does help them improve their supporting cast for LeBron. The Warriors would rid themselves from "Captain" Jack's 2 extra years.
- Danillo Gallinari proves to be a bust. Coach D'Antoni agrees not to convince the Knicks front office to draft players with names that sound like longer versions of his last name ever again.
- Jordan Hill has a solid rookie season and begins his path towards being the Diet Coke of Charles Oakleys.
- David Lee outrebounds and outscores Warriors "franchise cornerstone" Andris Biedrins again. The Knicks front office have made their share of dumb moves over the past decade, but unlike the Warriors front office at least they're smart enough to recognize a great role player when they see one and not proclaim him to be a franchise building block.
- Chris Duhon lights up the Warriors in both matches. Back in 2008 with Monta Ellis "guarding" him Duhon lit up the Dubs for 34 points and 9 dimes. Last season in NY Duhon dropped 22 dimes on the Warriors- oh it was funny.
- Another solid late 1st round Isiah Thomas pick Wilson Chandler scores a respectable 15ppg.
- Sun Yue jerseys outsell Yi jerseys from across the bridge even though it's The Year of the Yi.
- After a blowout loss to the lowly Sacrapmento Kings on February 9, 2010 in the Garden, Darko Millicic goes on a profanity-laced tirade that no English speaker can even fathom.
- Larry Hughes continues his statistically odd career of peaks and valleys by averaging 20ppg.
- The Knicks don't lose a single game Cuttino Mobley plays in this year.
- Al Harrington's back doesn't hurt all season- good for him.
Goals for Summer of 2k10
As Ja Rule, Fat Joe, and Jadakiss would say... "He's... from NEW YORK!"
- Bring LeBron James to the Big Apple. (Yes this sort of analysis is exactly why they pay me the big bucks around these parts.)
- Convince as much of the Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and Amare Stoudemire free agent crew to join LeBron in NY. There's a great piece on ESPN.com about where these marquee free agent will land: James| Wade| Bosh | Stoudemire
- Use Darko Millicic to help lure LeBron James. Sure Darko was drafted #2 right behind LeBron James in 2002 despite a few folks proclaiming that he should go #1 over that "overrated" high school talent, but guess who is the only one with a ring? I think we all know who has had the last laugh. Have Darko show LeBron what it feels like to be a NBA champion playing in NY.
- Re-hire Isiah Thomas to lead the Knicks draft department. There's no way Isiah would've passed on Brook Lopez, Anthony Randolph, Jason Thompson, and Eric Gordon. Isiah might not know how to manage the checkbook, but he does know NBA Draft [ESPN.com].
- Have a better summer than this one- Remembering the Free Agent Madness of '96 [Posting and Toasting]
- Release Nike Air LeBron VIII's in at least 23 different NY-themed colorways. Seriously did folks not notice this and this and this and of course this? He didn't even play for NY last season. LeBron 2 NY is going to do wonders for Nike's bottom line in 2k10 and beyond.
The greatest Big 3 ever assembled.
For more on the Knicks from folks who actually know what they're talking about check out our SBN brother site Posting and Toasting.
Our friends in NY have quite the "Unstoppable Baby!" slogan:
Partying Like It's 2010!
Another NY fav is of course Modi and gang's Sports on My Mind.
2009-2010 Around the Association
- Atlanta Hawks: Sorry, Mrs. Jackson. The Hawks are for real.
- Boston Celtics: Sheed in Green + Another Answer
- Charlotte Bobcats: They Do Exist
- Chicago Bulls: Ring Around the Rose-y
- Cleveland Cavaliers: Now or Never
- Dallas Mavericks: The Curse of the Dampier
- Denver Nuggets: If it ain't broke...
- Detroit Pistons: The Return of the Bay Boys
- Houston Rockets: Yao-ch!, that's gotta hurt
- Indiana Pacers: A One Man Show
- Los Angeles Clippers: Warriors South No More
- Los Angeles Lakers: Big Brother, Little Brother
- Memphis Grizzlies: Going Back to Vancouver
- Miami Heat: Need to get the point
- Milwaukee Bucks: Saving a few buck$
- Minnesota Timberwolves: Donde esta Senor Rubio?
- New Jersey Nets: The Year of the Yi
- New Orleans Hornets: Two first names, one great point guard
- New York Knicks
- Oklahoma City Super Sonics
- Orlando Magic
- Philadelphia Sixers
- Phoenix Suns
- Portland TrailBlazers
- Sacramento Kings
- San Antonio Spurs
- Toronto Raptors
- Utah Jazz
- Washington Wizards