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March 11, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Chris Sheridan

Chris Sheridan
  (2:00 PM)

Good afternoon from New York, and congrats to those who took the over in the Amar'e decision pool (see Knicks blog on Word came from the league office at 1:39 p.m., 18 minutes after the cutoff line. Questions?

Luis (miami)

Why are the Knicks so inconsistent on D? They played so well against the Heat, Hornets, Hawks, but then they turn around and give up 115 and 119 to Cleveland, 116 the Magic, and now 127 to the Mavs. There are numerous possessions where they leave players wide open with nobody withing 15 feet of the guy.

Chris Sheridan
  (2:03 PM)

Some of it is effort, some of it is because of unfamiliarity with each other, some of it is a natural happenstance of playing in a system as offensively-oriented as the one M.D'Antoni employs. They have been inconsistent on offense, too, though not as much in the past 2-3 games as in the first few after the big trade.

Darryl (Boston)

Hey Chris, how much of that loss last night do you attribute to it being the 7th game in 10 days? The team looked pretty dead for nearly the entire game...

Chris Sheridan
  (2:04 PM)

More so the second night of a road and road back-to-back in Memphis and Dallas. They certainly didn't appear to have the energy to make a surge. Today is their first day off in a long, long time.

jack (queens)

which team is the best matchup for the knicks in the playoffs, bulls heat or magic? and if hey end up playing the heat how do you see the series playng out?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:08 PM)

The Heat is the best matchup for them for a couple reasons: The pressure will all be on Miami, the center position will not be as much of a problem to defend (notwithstanding Z.Ilgauskas's Wilt-like first quarter the first time they played in Miami), nor will the point guard position (especially in the case of Rondo/Boston).

Stewie (NY)

I've seen people with ACL tares and broken bones make a quicker recovery than Billups with his BRUISE. When is this guy coming back, next season????

Chris Sheridan
  (2:10 PM)

There are thigh bruises and there are DEEP thigh bruises, and Chauncey said the muscle that is taking the longest to heal is the deepest muscle down near his kneecap. So you can take his word and keep your fingers crossed, or you can slam a cinder block into your own lower thigh as hard as you can and see if you can run during the ensuing week. (I recommend Option A).

MDJ (Queens, NY)

What's your final projected record for the Knicks this year?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:12 PM)

44-38, three games above where I had them last time I predicted a final record for them.

Michael C. (Westport, CT)

Would you replace D'Antoni next year in order to hire a coach who preaches defense?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:15 PM)

No. You know how many games D'Antoni has coached with Donnie Walsh's four-year master plan coming to fruition? There have been 10, and they are 6-4 in those games. The 216 games he coached before that were with transitional rosters.

James Epstein (New York, New York)

Chris, Who do you see as the Knicks quickest solution at finding a big guy to rebound, play D and take some of the weight off of Amar'e down low?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:17 PM)

For now, they are rolling with J.Jefries and R.Turiaf at that position, come what may. Their succes in finding or not finding a center in the draft will impact how they approach strengthening that position through free agency.

Greg (Boston)

We could have held onto Brewer, and at least traded him for a late 1st round pick. Not to mention he could have given us a solid 15 minutes a night. This was a really poor decision by Walsh, correct?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:21 PM)

They tried to trade him and nobody would bite. They released him because D'Antoni could not guarantee him a role. Was it a mistake? Yes, I believe it was. But they apparently valued R.Balkman's size (and long contract) and R.Mason's shooting as more important. Plus, Corey is repped by the same agent as Amar'e, and teams tend to yield to the wishes of agents who represent their star players.


Amazing how perspective changes on Jeffries on this team vs the one last year...It was painful to watch in '09-10 when he was a starter but ironically now i'm grateful to see him back for the squad...

Chris Sheridan
  (2:22 PM)

It is still painful to watch him shoot. He should not be allowed to shoot unless he dunks. (His trainer, ESPN colleague David Thorpe, has pretty much told him the same thing.) I spoke to Jared about it earlier this week, and he said he'll dunk more when he gets his legs back into game-shape.

James (New York, New York)

Quick follow up, if not through the draft, could you see Marc Gasol being the target? Or would Walsh opt to keep the cap space 2012 Free Agent Class?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:25 PM)

I think that would depend on what he is hearing in regards to Dwight Howard's future. If the Knicks believe they can get him in 2012, I don't see them sacrificing their cap space either on a restricted free agent (i.e. Gasol) or an unrestricted one (i.e. Dalembert) who will be seeking a long-term deal.

Keith (NY)

Is it more important for the Knicks to obtain a center or a point guard?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:25 PM)

A center.

J.B. (PA)

Chris: Was there any crying in the Knicks locker room after last night's game?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:26 PM)

If there was, there were Mark Cuban-supplied ultraplush towels to soak up the tears.

Keith (NY)

Would a team with Howard, Amar'e and Melo actually work?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:27 PM)

Um, yes.


Donnie Walsh seemed to lose his temper the last time he was asked about his contract that him being just annoyed with being questioned about it all the time or is there more to read into it...

Chris Sheridan
  (2:28 PM)

That is his stock answer to questions he doesn't want to entertain, and he always delivers that stock answer with a shot of vinegar to make sure the questioner knows he doesn't appreciate being asked.

Dan (NYC)

Is it possible that Amar'e getting this tech rescinded could backfire? We would have had a fair chance against Indiana without him, but now his inevitable 16th T could end up causing him to miss a game against a better opponent.

Chris Sheridan
  (2:29 PM)

Why inevitable? He has been on his best behavior lately, and D.Howard played the last 15 or so games last season sitting on 15 without ever picking up No. 16.

BH (Brooklyn)

did Roger Mason take bill walkers spot? or are they sharing it now?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:35 PM)

I asked D'Antoni that in Memphis two nights ago, and he said he wanted Walker to get in a practice before leaning on him. That practice will be tomorrow, so Sunday will be telling. Mason is 5-for-12 on 3s over the last four games, so he hasn't hurt his own cause.


Technical question. does Amare's technical foul count get reset to 0 when the playoffs start???

Chris Sheridan
  (2:36 PM)

Yes. Everyone's does. You have to get seven playoff techs to get suspended.

craig (tampa, fl)

I know some of the guys are dealing with injuries but it also appears Mike might be lengthening the rotation. Do you think this is just to address the nagging issues night to night or is he going to play 9-10 deep down the stretch and in playoffs?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:39 PM)

He is an eight-man rotation guy, and I don't see him changing his stripes. His main bench guys in the playoffs will be Turiaf, Shawne Williams and Toney Douglas.

Anthony (NYC)

It would be insane to wait on Howard if Gasol is attainable.

Chris Sheridan
  (2:40 PM)

I disagree. Howard is three times the player M.Gasol is. Also, since M.Gasol is restricted, the Grizlies can match the offer if they choose. But Marc did speak favorably of NYC the other day, comparing it to Barcelona. But note that he also likes Memphis, where he attended high school when his big brother was with the Grizzles.


Do you think Knicks can hold onto the 6th seed? Philly seems to be on a roll too...they might ruin the dream matchup between Knicks/Heat!

Chris Sheridan
  (2:42 PM)

Too many games left (about 20 percent of the schedule) to say with any certainty where the Knicks (and others) will end up. One bad week by the Hawks, and the Knicks can climb to No. 5.

Jackson (NJ)

Great job as always Chris......I've had this feeling all along so it is not a spur of the moment reaction, but I just feel that a coach like D'Antoni, w/his style and philosophy will never be able to take a team to a championship....your thoughts??

Chris Sheridan
  (2:45 PM)

He came pretty darn close to making the finals a couple years ago, and then Robert Horry hip-checked Steve Nash and changed the course of history and made D.Stern the most hated man in Arizona.

Luis (miami)

With Douglas playing so well in the starting role, do you think we'll see a lot of him and Billups playing together when Chauncey returns.

Chris Sheridan
  (2:47 PM)

That will fluctuate on any given night because of the way Douglas runs so hot and cold. If he is hot, he will eat into Shawne Williams' minutes. Also, he is an excellent defender and will be able to check guys who are too fast for Billups. So it'll probably be about the same as it was when Ray Felton was here.

Dave (Wayne, NJ)

Thanks for the coverage! It's starting to look like Houston will be on the outside looking in when playoffs start, so the 2011 draft pick switch will not happen after all. That makes the trade with Houston look that much better...

Chris Sheridan
  (2:48 PM)

Yes, and the McGrady trade was a means to an end which the Knicks have achieved. (BTW, the Nets now own the rights to that Houston pick from the Terrence Williams trade).

J.B. (PA)

Chris, you mentioned that you wouldn't get rid of D'Antoni now that the Donnie Walsh Master Plan is underway. At what point DO you consider a coaching change?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:50 PM)

At the end of next season at the earliest. You've given him 2-plus years with transitionl rosters, now you have to allow him at least one full year with the two studs on board. IMO it is far more likely he gets a one-year extension than gets canned in the next 12 months.


Is it me or does this trade for Melo look better and better by the day. Billups/Melo have 100s of playoff game experience. Billups and Felton could be a wash but actually even Douglas' improvements making me miss Felton less more and more. Melo > Chandler and while missing Gallo stinks, Walker/Mason/Williams filling in the 3pt shot whole. I guess having Mozgov has a body in the center spot would be nice but Jeffries at least defensively fills in that gap...

Chris Sheridan
  (2:52 PM)

That pretty much sums it up, VW. Plus they kept their cap flexibility for the summer of '12, which cannot go unmentioned.

Ben (NYC)

Do small market teams have a right to complain? I see empty arenas in small markets when their team stinks; but MSG managed to stay pretty packed for the whole decade before STAT and Melo.

Chris Sheridan
  (2:57 PM)

Last time I checked, San Antonio was on a 20-year roll. Oh, and Oklahoma City looks pretty good, too, and they have locked up K.Durant. It is a non-issue to me. The issue is what teams in smaller (or less-desirable) markets do with their impending free agents. Toronto made a monumental mistake by not trading Bosh. Utah decided to cut bait with Deron Williams. The Jazz will be better off for it in the long run, while the Raptors will not. And Salt Lake City is a teensy-weensy market compared to Toronto.

chad (Myrtle Beach)

Is it crazy to think the Knicks would tank down the stretch as to avoid taking the Hawks 5 spot to avoid Playing Magic in the 1st Round. IMO the worst matchup for the Knicks would be D. Howard.

Chris Sheridan
  (3:00 PM)

If the Heat keep playing the way they've been playing, they will drop to the No. 4 spot. Their lead over the Magic is down to three games. (If Orlando and Miami finish tied, the tie-breaker would be record in their own division since they split the season series 2-2)

Chris Sheridan
  (3:01 PM)

That's a wrap for this week folks. See you back here next Friday when I will be chatting from lovely Auburn Hills, Mich.