Good afternoon from a comfortable outdoors afternoon in New York, which felt like it would never arrive. Horrible spring weather so far in this part of the country after a long, snowy, icy winter. And tomorrow we will get the remnants of the thunderstorm/tornado system that barrelled across the nation's midsection the past two days. But you will enjoy this little Knicks-related weather tidbit: the bad weather followed the Knicks around all season from beginning to end, with the exception of their preseason trip to Europe and one of the two Miami-Orlando trips, which was mild but not especially warm. The other Mia/Orl trip the weather was cold, as was the temps in L.A. both times. In every single other city, even Phoenix, it was cold and/or rainy/snowy. This is limbo week for the Knicks, and another two days of silence from the organization might make me capitalize it into Limbo Week. So what is everybody thinking and wondering?
Chris, is there anyway the Knicks could waive Billups and bring him back for $3-4 million for 1 year? $14Million is outrageous for a guy his age, athletic ability, and who is completely unproven in their system. While Chauncey has great leadership skills, he can no longer guard any of the elite PG's in the league, and he isn't quick enough to get in the paint anymore. The Knicks need a solid Center alot more than they need Billups back. I don't see how that could even be up for debate. Knicks should also focus in the draft on getting a PG (Kemba Walker, Josh Selby, etc)
The only way I see them waiving Billups is if they were very, very confident they could get a top center in free agency, someone like Nene (who has an ETO). Otherwise, there are too many benefits both from a basketball perspective and a cap mnagement perspective to keep him at $14.2M. Remember, if one of the top players who are impending '12 free agents tried to force a trade next season (Dwight Howard would be upset with me if I cited him as an example, so I won't), the Knicks would ned a big expiring contract to make the salaries match. But as of now they are short on other assets to include in such a deal other than Toney Douglas and Landry Fields, who showed in the postseason they weren't as valuable assets as previously believed.
Hey Chris, What should be the knicks offseason focus? I know they need a better bench and set of role players, but who's going to be out there to help them and also in the draft. Thanks for your time.
Again, the name I'd keep an eye on is Nene. He is the only center out there who I believe would be worth the sacrifice of the '12 cap space, but you'd have to waive Billups to take that risk. The other big unrestricted free agents are Tyson Chandler and Sammy Dalembert, who will want multi-year deal. The best restricted free agents are Marc Gasol and DeAndre Jordan, whose teams would have the right to match. It would help the Knicks if there was a labor settlement and they could bring Jerome Jordan back from Europe for summer league. He was one of their three second-round picks last June. As for guys in the draft, check my column today on the ESPNNewYork main page. I have a bunch of international guys listed in there who the Knicks hope will fall to No. 17.
Chris, is there any shot of having a "gentleman's" agreement with Chauncy that he is released, and then we re-sign him for less $$ but more years in July? This would help the team in terms of putting together a viable line-up to be a contender in the east. No?
It would cut into their '12 cap room if they signed him for that season, thereby taking them out of the max mix.
Chris. Surprisingly not a lot of talk about the fact that Yao Ming is a free agent this summer. Given his injury history and the huge marketing opps in NYC, any chance he would lower his price and take a smaller offer with the knicks. Would they be interested?
It depends on his medical state, and whether he'll ever be fit enough to play again. To me he sems too young to retire, but he has a lot of miles on his body. But he is an intriguing one-year proposition if he'd do a one-year deal, and same goes for Greg Oden if the Blazers don't tender him a qualifying offer.
Did the playoffs show us we need to find a new starting shooting guard?
It showed that Landry Fields was not ready to be a prime time player, but they still like him a lot and have a team option on him for another year that is certain to be picked up. If all the bigs they like are gone by the time they pick at No. 17, I would expect them to address this position. But that being said, they are going to continue to get the bulk of their scoring from the 1, 3 and 4 spots the next several years, so they don;t need a player who is a high-volume shooter at that position. They need someone who plays the way Fields played before the trade.
I was watching ESPN first take yesterday morning and i was surprised at what they were saying in the discussion panel with Skip Bayless and the two live stu. That the Grizzlies can win it all with the way they're playing. I they really up to that level? i thought it was more of it being a bad match up in the first round for the Spurs than it being that they're THAT good.... your thoughts?
If they had Rudy Gay, that would be plausible. I don't see them getting past OKC in the second round.
Chris, can you see the Knicks bringing in Grant Hill and Kurt Thomas on vet deals? Grant Hill wants to win, has a relationship with Amare and MDA, and is now in a losing situation in PHX. He almost signed here two years ago. Kurt Thomas has been here before and would have a bigger role on NYK then CHI as he would provide savy toughness in the middle for us. Thoughts?
I like both of your ideas, but especially Kurt. He was huge for Milwaukee last year, and wait and see how valuable he is for the Bulls as they go deeper in the playoffs. With Hill, it would depend if they were losing Shawne Williams, who will be unrestricted. If they keep him, the need for Hill would be lessened, but he would still bring a lot to a playoff roster.
Chris, why do I get the feeling that Billups adamantly saying he wants to stay in NYC has little to do with him actually wanting to give it another run with the Knicks and a lot to do with him knowing that the Knicks picking up his option is his only way to a big payday for next season? After all, this is the guy who was intially upset about leaving Denver in the first place, isn't it?
I disagree. I think he legitimately wants to be a part of the resurgence of the franchise, and I think he wants to atone for what happened this season with him missing so much time because of injuries. He was playing great ball in Denver and in New York, too, when he first arrived. Of course he also has those 10 million other reasons to have his option picked up, but he knows his career is coming to a close and he wants to be a part of something special in his final lap through the league.
What grade would you give the Knicks for this season? B? B+?
C-plus or B-minus. Depends how moody I was on grade-giving day. If that day is today, they get the B-minus.
(The above includes a reference intended for the bemusement of schoolteachers/professors.)
Do you see the knicks signing a back-up point guard or drafting a point guard in the draft. Do the knicks get Kemba if he falls to them?
Kemba is not falling to them. I think the likeliest scenario is keeping Billups and Douglas and re-signing Anthony Carter. AC said after Game 4 he wants to come back.
With the athletic ability of a Derrick Brown do they bring him back to develop a consistent outside shot and hopefully get him minutes next year
I think they would have gone to him against Boston if they believed in him.
Can't find your draft article...link?
Whats the deal with Walsh? Jim Dolan better not screw over the Knicks savior. Whats this guys problem, Donnie should have been signed months ago.
As I have been saying and writing, I believe they will bring him back, and D'Antoni, too. To me it is a no-brainer. But remember that Jim Dolan operates on the schedule of his choosing, and he does not care if this becomes Limbo Week instead of Continuity Week.
i am one of those knick fans who thinks we need to keep d'antoni, but we desperately need him to hire a defensive minded ast (i like mike brown) do you think d'antoni would be open to that arrangement or is he too stubborn?
The problem Mike has with that idea is that it undercuts his current staff, which includes his brother, Dan, his longtime assistant Phil Weber, and Herb Williams. But he is on record saying he is open to anything, so we shall see.
Who is the Knicks best option at Center...a free agent, a possible trade or the draft? why
IMO, replace Shelden Williams with Kurt Thomas and draft a big at No. 17 if one of the EuroCenters is still on the board. I'd even keep Jeffries because he draws charges (like Kurt) and he can defend different positions. One of the things everybody learned about the Knicks is that they need some vets to help them in the playoffs. And vets are not looking for long-term money the way younger guys on this summer's free agent market will be.
Following up on Grant Hill... You don't think he can start @ the 2 next year? He would be the perfect mentor to Landry Fields, teaching him the intricacies of the game. Similar "heady" players.
If he was starting alongside Billups, that would be a pretty vulnerable defensive unit against speed teams. But Grant would be a valuable 20-22 minute per night bench player.
For all the people calling for D'Antoni's head, who are they proposing replaces him next year? Provided there's a season next year, are there even any available coaches that would be a significant upgrade over D'Antoni? No need to play the coaching carousel if not.
A lot of them propose Mike Brown. I would say if the Knicks wanted to look for a different coach, the time to do so would be a year from now if they have flamed out and Phil Jackson and Doc Rivers are both available.
How about signning Shaq? He has play in all the big markets ....his last stop NYK?
I wouldn't rule it out, but Shaq has a player option with the Celtics that he could still choose to exercise.
Can the Knicks trade Chauncey before Friday? I have to think there would be real interest in his non-guaranteed deal. The Clips might make sense w Kaman coming back this way. Saves them money to pay Deandre Jordan.
No. After the deadline, the CBA rules state you can't trade any player on an expiring deal, or a player with an ETO, team option or player option, unless you resolve the option part of the equation first.
In hindsight, what would you say was the Knicks biggest mistake this year? Either from a coaching or player personnel perspective?
Letting Corey Brewer go. At the time, they told Corey there were overstocked at the wing positions and he wouldn't have the opportunity for many minutes. But with the way Fields played after that, Brewer could have been starting for them by the playoffs.
Chris,Isn't Wilson Chandler a Restricted Free Agent this off season? Do you think the knicks would have intrest in signing him??
Wilson will want more money and more years than the Knicks would be willing to offer. I think he will find greener pastures elsewhere.
What about biggest success? Finding Landry Fields in the 2nd round?
No, it was acquiring Carmelo Anthony and signing him to an edxtension that'll keep him alongside Amare for at least three more years.
you really think kurt would leave his cushy title-contending role in chicago to play 30 minutes a game for NY for around the same pay??
Yes, because he spent a lot of time here and liked it here. If the Knicks add/keep veteran chemistry guys, Kurt and Grant Hill and Anthony Carter should be atop their list.
Shot in the dark Chris - assuming there is a season of some sorts next year, if you had to guess whether the Knicks would make it out of the first round or not, what would you say based on what you know now.
I would say yes, assuming the keep Donnie Walsh and let him build the next set of one-year pieces.
Gotta go. Knicks have picked up Billups' option, source tells me. News story upcoming as fast as I can dictate it.