This just suddenly made all kinds of sense to me, possibly way later than everybody else in the world.
But bear with me.
Alan Hahn of Newsday has an article citing a single anonymous source (red alert!) saying that Monta Ellis might like to play in Mike D'Antoni's up-tempo style.
It's kind of a "duh, who wouldn't?" thing. Players have reportedly been eager to join D'Antoni's fun system in Phoenix for years. Why would that be any different in New York? People like scoring buckets!
And here's where the genius of Donnie Walsh comes to play: No matter how the Knicks are going to rebuild, it will have to involve free agents. Free agents love Mike D'Antoni. Always have.
In Phoenix, however, free agents have been limited by the team's other massive financial commitments, and the reticence of owner Robert Sarver to spend like a maniac.
But the Knicks will spend like maniacs! That has an NBA fact!
Great big pile of James Dolan money + a coach everyone wants to play for = a future rich with first-rate free agents.
So, there's that mid-level exception to play with, which is good enough for real players these days. And, of course, the team's ongoing project to shed payroll to get under the salary cap in the free-agent rich summer of 2010.