Posted by edsalwaysright on 3rd June 2011
Donnie Walsh, the man responsible for almost single-handedly bringing the New York Knicks back from a decade of irrelevance and the nightmare that was Isiah Thomas’ tenure as team president and then head coach, is leaving the team, and will vacate his position as president and general manager shortly after this month’s 2011 NBA Draft. Team owner James Dolan called the decision to not renew Walsh’s contract — scheduled to end in one month — as “mutual,” although suspicions are strong that Dolan and Walsh did not see eye-to-eye on a number of key issues and decisions, including the future of head coach Mike D’Antoni.
Walsh was instrumental in freeing the cap space that allowed the Knicks to pursue Amare Stoudemire and later sign Carmelo Anthony, qualifying the Knicks for the post-season for the first time since 2004 and leading the team to their first winning season since 2000. Walsh’s departure leaves some very big, and important shoes to fill, especially with what should be a busy summer of free agency coming up in 2012. Alan Houston’s name has been already thrown around as a possible replacement, as has newly retired head coach Phil Jackson’s (not happening), but it is highly unlikely for a decision to be made anytime soon. It is also highly unlikely — let us all pray — that Isiah Thomas will be in the running for the position, again. I say this in the hopes that this hiring will not only be made with player personnel (and coaching) decisions in mind, but also with the best interests of the team’s fan base and the direction the franchise is trying to go in. In other words, and now that the Knicks are finally relevant again and have (somewhat) regained the loyalty and trust of their fans, owner James Dolan should be very careful in who he hires to replace Walsh, and hopefully is able to put his personal biases and friendships aside.
Personally, I would like to see Alan Houston take Walsh’s place. He doesn’t have a ton of experience, but clearly knows the Knicks franchise and strikes me as an extremely smart guy. Most importantly, I would love to see Walsh stick around the team as a consultant (it has been reported that he will do so next season, although how much he stays involved in the day-to-day team affairs is very unclear) for the next couple of years. The worst things Knicks management can do right now is take a complete U-turn and undo all the good work Walsh has done in the last couple of years. Despite the fact that the Knicks had their first successful season in quite a while this year, there is no doubt that they are in an extremely vulnerable situation in terms of cap space and player options. They gave up what seems like 20 draft picks to get Carmelo, so they will have to be extremely smart if they hope to attract players in the next couple of years to build around Stoudemire and Anthony.
No matter what happens, Knicks fans should do one thing: buckle their seat-belts. But then again, I probably don’t have to remind anyone to do that. This is the Knicks we are talking about after all. If Isiah Thomas doesn’t get hired in the next 2 weeks that will be a huge victory in itself…
Tags: 2011 NBA Draft, Donnie Walsh, Isiah Thomas, James Dolan, NBA Draft, New York Knicks
Posted in Carmelo Anthony, EdsAlwaysRight, New York Knicks, New York Sports Stuff | No Comments »
Posted by edsalwaysright on 2nd June 2011
With the 2011 NBA Draft only three weeks away (June 23rd in Newark, NJ), New York Knicks management is hard at work conducting individual workouts and weighing their options as to who they will select with the 17th overall pick. The Knicks needs as draft day approaches are very clear: size, size, and more size. It is well known that Amare Stoudemire is most effective when playing the power-forward position, and he has repeatedly expressed a desire to play alongside a true big-man in order to keep him out of foul trouble and allow him roam around defensively and help from the weak side.
Unfortunately, the Knicks have little to no cap space to put towards a center this summer, as the top young centers on the market — the best probably being the Sacramento King’s Samuel Dalembert — will be looking for big money and long-term contracts. The other piece of bad news is that this year’s draft is somewhat thin on centers (aren’t they all). 6-11 Turkish center Enes Kanter and 6-11 Lithuanian big-man Jonas Valanciunas have gotten great reviews from team owners and draft experts, but it will be almost impossible for the Knicks to make a pass at either of them, as they are both predicted to be picked in the top 8. What will most likely have to happen if the Knicks do in fact draft with the goal of improving their size and length (it is always a possibility that they go with a guard, possibly Kansas’ Josh Selby — scratch that, when you’re talking about the Knicks, anything is a possibility), is that the team will select the best 6-9 to 6-10 player available when the 17th pick rolls around (Klay Thompson, Marcus Morris, Kenneth Faried, Jordan Hamilton) and hope Ronny Turiaf can provide enough minutes to keep Stoudemire at the 4 for the majority of games. So in the end, and as much as it hurts me to say this, how well the Knicks do next year will in large part (too large) be determined by the play of Ronny Turiaf, or whoever New York decides to start at center alongside Amare.
Now for some good news — the first piece being that I am almost positive that Knicks fans will not allow for Jared Jeffries to ever step on a basketball court wearing a Knicks jersey ever again. Don’t get me wrong, Ronny Turiaf is no Dwight Howard, but he’s also no Jared Jeffries, which means he’s not one of the top-5 worst players to ever play in the NBA. The other good news is that the 17th pick in the NBA Draft has produced some fine players in the recent past, which, although it doesn’t really mean anything substantial, can’t be a bad thing. Right? Well here are a few of them anyway. Call it wishful thinking…
2009. Jrue Holliday (UCLA) – Philadelphia 76ers
2008. Roy Hibbert (Georgetown) – Toronto Raptors (Traded to Indiana)
2006. Shawne Williams (Memphis) – Indiana Pacers
2005. Danny Granger (New Mexico) – Indiana Pacers
2004. Josh Smith (Oak Hill Academy, VA) – Atlanta Hawks
2000.Desmond Mason (Oklahoma State) – Seattle SuperSonics
1996. Jermaine O’Neal (Eau Claire HS) – Portland Trail Blazers
1992. Doug Christie (Pepperdine) – Seattle SuperSonics
1989. Shawn Kemp (Trinity Valley CC) – Seattle SuperSonics
Tags: Amare Stoudemire, NBA, NBA Draft, New York Knicks, Ronny Turiaf
Posted in Carmelo Anthony, EdsAlwaysRight, New York Knicks, New York Sports Stuff | No Comments »
Posted by edsalwaysright on 1st June 2011
Serious question. I just want to know where we stand right now. I also don’t want to be the first to throw in the towel if we still think a miracle is possible and we can finish above .500 this year. On the other hand, I’m slowly starting to lose track of how many players we have on the disabled list, and I’m recognizing less and less of the players that are taking the field for us every week. As a side-note, the Mets would absolutely dominate the all-injured MLB Playoffs if they started today. No question. David Wright? Ike Davis? Chris Young? You might as well throw Carlos Beltran in there — he’ll be back there any day now. There’s also that pretty decent pitcher you might have forgotten about. Johan Santana? I think that’s his name. Now that’s a dominant team. They’d probably sweep every series on their way to the DL Championship. I don’t know about you but all I’m hearing right now is parade.
On a more serious note, whether the Mets (and their fans) are still hoping the team can right the ship and at least contend with the Marlins and Braves or stay within 10 games of the Phils, the truth remains that some significant changes will be made to the team in the very near future. Or at least they should be made.
For starters, why Jason Bay is scheduled to make $16 million next year is completely beyond me. If it wasn’t for the ridiculous amounts of injuries we’ve had, and the bad luck that has made it so that Bay hasn’t been one of those injuries, he probably wouldn’t have played in half of the games he has so far this season. In fact, nothing would make me happier than to see Bay get sent down to the minors. And not Triple-A; I’m talking Class-A Short Season. Aberdeen Ironbirds if possible. That’s how hard it is to watch this guy play right now. While I’m at it I’m going to encourage you to buy this Jason Bay bobblehead. It’ll be worth a ton in a few years when Bay is out of the majors, and I’ve been told $2 of each sale goes directly to him, which he’ll probably need after he has to give back his salary from the last few years after failing to hit 20 total home-runs in 3 seasons. Please help him out.
Sadly, nothing I have said above about Jason Bay will actually happen. What is going to happen, however, is that the Mets will trade one of their key pieces, if not a few of them. It seems like the favorite to be traded, whether mid-season or in the off-season, is shortstop Jose Reyes. Reyes has been the only bright light in what has been a bottomless pit of darkness of a season so far (okay maybe not. Justin Turner has definitely been a nice surprise), and could even be in the early MVP discussion if he was on a better team. He also represents the player New York would probably get the best value for, as a handle full of teams would be interested in his speed, defense, and hitting. Even David Wright, the Mets poster boy and management’s very favorite has been rumored to be on the trading block, as it’s believed that Wright’s poor hitting would significantly improve in another ballpark (not too convinced about that one…) and on a team where he wouldn’t be expected to be “the guy.”
Personally, I’d rather see Wright go, as I think (and think that most would agree) that what Reyes offers at the plate and in the field is irreplaceable. Wright on the other hand — a talented hitter who seems to go through more slumps than your average “star” player and isn’t terribly clutch — can be replaced. It goes without saying that I would also like to see Beltran go. We could even package him in with Wright as a free giveaway. With a “please take this off our hands before it crumbles in a heap of dust” sign attached to him. Unfortunately, I think Reyes will in fact be the one to be traded. Which is why I just ordered this signed baseball that I plan on keeping in my pocket for the rest of my life, no matter how weird it makes my pants look. Most importantly, what I hope the Mets do is make up their mind about what direction the team is going in. If management wants to rebuild, I am all for that. We have some good young players to build around, and obviously a few pieces we could trade for more prospects and young talent.
What I’m most tired of is this team giving huge amounts of money to injury-prone, washed-up, or underachieving players while our “star” players sit on the bench injured all year while a bunch of no-names run around losing to the Pirates and making me the laughing stock of my Yankee-fan friends. Can you feel the frustration yet?
Tags: Carlos Beltran, David Wright, Ike Davis, Johan Santana, Jose Reyes, Jose Reyes Memorabilia, Major League Baseball, MLB, New York Mets
Posted in Carlos Beltran, David Wright, EdsAlwaysRight, Johan Santana, Jose Reyes, MLB, New York Mets, New York Sports Stuff | 2 Comments »