About Taylor Armosino

Taylor Armosino is a Business major at the University of Arizona. He loves the Knicks, Raiders and A's, but mostly the Knicks. He also writes at KnicksNow.com, Saving the Skyhook, and Charged.fm. Email him taylorarmosino@yahoo.com. Follow him @tarmosino

Posts by Taylor Armosino:

Knick Fans, Meet Glen Grunwald

     At the close of business Thursday, NBA front office legend Donnie Walsh will be stepping down from the Knicks front office to take a “consulting” role with the team. Given his clash with clown owner James Dolan, it’s unknown how much say Walsh will really have. What is known is that the interim general manager will be Walsh right hand man and former Toronto Raptors GM Glen Grunwald. The journey of Glen Grunwald is an interesting one. To me, he seems like a man who has paid his dues and has plenty of basketball experience as both a player and a front office man. Him and Isiah Thomas, yes that Isiah Thomas, were co-captains on Indiana’s 1981 championship team. He was drafted in the 5th round by the Celtics but never played in the NBA. Grunwald graduated from Northwestern with a law degree and Indiana with a Business Administration degree. After spending time with the Nuggets, Grundwald’s first big job came as Isiah’s right hand man when Thomas was hired as the Raptors general manager during their 1994 inception. In 1997 Thomas’ bid to become owner in Toronto failed and he resigned. Grunwald was hired as GM. He made many successful personnel moves, such as trading for Vince Carter, Charles Oakley and Antonio Davis and trading Damon Stoudamire away, in building a winner out of a perennial lottery team. He built a strong team around Vince Carter and they made the playoffs from 1999-2002. His veteran teams got old and injury riddled quickly and began to lose games. In the 2004 draft, Grunwald selected Chris Bosh fourth overall and the team fell just short of the 8th seed in the eastern conference. Grunwald was then fired. He became the President and CEO of the Toronto Board of Trade before returning to Isiah Thomas’ side as senior VP of basketball operations with the Knicks in 2006. When Thomas was relieved of his duties in 2008, Donnie Walsh was brought in and kept Grunwald in the same position he held under Thomas. Now Walsh is the one who is leaving and Grunwald is now the man in charge. Although the Isiah Thomas friendship and prior experience is obviously alarming for Knick fans, I’ve read numerous times from different writers that Grunwald is not seen as a Thomas loyalist by anybody around the league. It will be interesting to see if Grunwald has big enough balls to stand up to the Thomas-Dolan marriage. Clearly Walsh could not get what he needed out of the moronic owner, it remains to be seen if Grunwald will be able to. The people in place right now seem to be Grunwald’s people so there shouldn’t be much of a transition or dispute over personnel as we know Dolan rules the organization with his moronic tyrannical ways. While Walsh was calling the shots, I believe Grunwald has had a bigger role in both free agent recruiting and personnel decisions than anybody has been led on to believe. Grunwald does have ties to CAA which has to appeal to Dolan as he seems to be inclined to let the agency run the entire organization. Grunwald’s ties to Thomas and CAA would seemingly make him a strong candidate to be hired as the general manager once the upcoming lockout is resolved.

     Grunwald’s goal is simple: Build a supporting cast around Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony. The goal seems simple but it may not be. Thanks to Walsh, Grunwald no longer has to build the team but he needs to surround the building blocks with talent. Given his past history of personnel decisions, I feel somewhat confident in his abilities. While he’s not seen as an Isiah disciple, the looming dark cloud of Thomas’ influence is still surrounding the organization and Grunwald’s prior relationship with him scares me. If anything Grunwald’s tenure should be interesting but beware Knick fans, the job is far from finished. As Dallas showed Miami in the finals, basketball is still a team sport and basketball is played with 5 men at a time, not 2 or 3. If the Knicks don’t build the right supporting cast, this team will never reach the pinnacle that Knick fans expect it to each.

 

Image via NBA.com

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Knicks Extend Qualifying Offer to Derrick Brown

     Just in, the Knicks have just extended a qualifying offer worth a little over 1 million dollars to backup small forward Derrick Brown. The good news keeps on coming today. First the Kurt Thomas rumors, now this. I am a big Derrick Brown fan. He’s 6’8, 220 pounds. I think he has a ton of potential due to his great athleticism. During Mike D’Antoni’s late season tryout for playoff bench minutes, I thought Brown played very well. Obviously he wasn’t going to play many minutes as he was a new comer from Charlotte after the deadline and he still has a long way to go, but I would have been interested to see how he did thrown in against Boston in the playoffs. Couldn’t have been any worse then Bill Walker’s 0-11 in game 1. I like Brown’s potential a lot. His dunk against Toronto just showed what kind of player he can be. I think some of the decision to pass up Chris Singleton in the draft had to do with the fact that the Knicks are very high on Derrick Brown. The way the roster stands right now, Brown would be in line to compete with Bill Walker (…) for minutes as Carmelo Anthony’s backup. Clearly I dislike Walker a lot and I like Brown. I really hope we keep him and I will be excited to see how he progresses in the coming years.

Here’s Brown’s monster dunk on Toronto this year:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waGeAbhmgFs]

 

Image via CBS New York

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Bring Back Kurt!

     I am loving the rumors that the Knicks are looking into bringing 39 year old free agent center Kurt Thomas back. I have always been a huge Thomas fan. He was great with the Knicks from ’98-’04  and I even enjoyed watching him in Chicago this past season  In watching him play this past season, he can still shoot, he still has that tenacity and meanness on the court and he delivered some hard fouls that the Knicks desperately need. He started 37 games for the Bulls this season, the team that had the best record in the Eastern Conference. While he averaged only 4.1 ppg and 5.8 rpg, his impact on the game doesn’t come in statistics. He’s 39 so he’s a clear backup at this point but he has the ability to mentor our young guys like Josh Harrellson and Jerome Jordan. Him and Amare have a mutual admiration for each other from their Phoenix days. Would Thomas come in and save the team at center? No way. But could he provide veteran leadership, give you 15 solid minutes a game off the bench and provide the intimidation factor down low that we desperately need? Absolutely. Plus he’ll come cheap on a willing 1 year contract which is what we need from our free agents as we prepare for the summer of 2012. Obviously this talk is all relative to the terms of the new CBA but I believe Thomas will come so cheap (he made 1.35 million last season) that he’ll be affordable no matter what the cap is. There’s a lot to like in Kurt Thomas’ situation. For a man who has never won a championship, coming back to a talent infested New York ball club with a chance to get some playing time should make a lot of sense for him. Bringing in an old vet who already knows New York, knows the garden, and who would fit in nicely as a veteran on this young team makes a lot of sense for the Knicks. Lets get it done Knicks hierarchy. Bring back Kurt.

 

Image via Best Sports Photos

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Amare Speaks on the “Potential” NBA Lockout

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROEEbMC-zH0&feature=player]

Amare speaks with Seattle Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson about the upcoming lockout on Robinson’s youtube series “The Real Robinson Report

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Will Shumpert Remain a Knick?

     It’s been widely rumored that Iman Shumpert, the Knicks first round selection, was drafted as a piece of the Steve Nash puzzle. I was in Phoenix last week and it was no secret there that the Suns love Iman Shumpert. Many people covering the Knicks believe that in fact, Shumpert may have been drafted as a piece to move to Phoenix for Steve Nash. The Knicks desperately want Nash and why wouldn’t they? He’s a pass first point guard, he can shoot, he’s 2 time MVP, has unbelievable chemistry with Amare and he has an expiring contract worth 11 million dollars. The great thing about Iman Shumpert is that if we deal him we get Steve Nash and if we don’t deal him then we get a great defensive player coming off the bench. I am really high on this guy, I think he has the potential to become on of the best defenders in the NBA. I think a proposed Nash deal would look something like this. Chauncy Billups, Bill Walker, Iman Shumpert to Phoenix for Nash. Contractually Billups must be included to make the numbers work because only him, Amare and Carmelo make enough money annually to match up with Nash’s 11 million. I think we’d give them Shumpert and one other player. However I do not believe this trade will happen. After listening to Phoenix radio for a week and Suns president of basketball operations Lon Babby speak on the issue, I do not believe Phoenix will trade Steve Nash. If they do trade him, they would do it at the trade deadline. Depending on the state of the Knicks at the trade deadline, it may not be worth the Knicks to give up Shumpert for a half year of Steve Nash. This situation is very interesting but I ultimately believe Nash will stay a Phoenix Sun.

Image via New York Sports Today

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Iman Shumpert Welcome and Farewell to Donnie Walsh

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzZtjAZvixM]

A great video by Pavlos Georgiou (Badboypav8) welcoming the new draft picks and bidding farewell to Donnie Walsh.

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Iman Shumpert Higlights

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZHOpu328Fs]

 

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Meet Josh Harrellson

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSHufxrBIdY]

     Knicks fans, meet Josh Harrellson, our freshly minted 2nd round pick. He reminds me a bit of Landry Fields in terms of his personality and humor.

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Knicks Purchase Rights to Josh Harrellson in Second Round

     My preference was Jeremy Tyler, who we very well could have bought, but the Knicks opted to purchase Kentucky center Josh Harrellson. The Knicks paid between 700,000 and 750,000 for Harrellson. Tyler was purchased by the Golden State Warriors 6 spots earlier. The Nets purchased the 31st pick in the draft, we could have had Tyler. I actually really like Harrellson but I can’t help but think that we could have had both players for a relatively small price. It’s not like the New York Knicks are short on money and I think Tyler would have been well worth it. Anyways back to the point. I do love Harrellson. When I wrote about him working out, I praised his great motor and big frame. I love his 6’10, 275 pound frame and the way he bangs on the boards. If the season started tomorrow, Harrellson would be playing good minutes. Turiaf breaks down after about 15 minutes and we need to find 33 minutes of center time. Harrellson could help fill those as well as Jerome Jordan, our second rounder from last year. Jared Jeffries and Shelden Williams are free agents and could be re signed although doubtful. We don’t have spending money unless we use our mid level exemption so bringing in another center is unlikely. Either way, I really like the Harrellson selection. I would have really loved having Tyler and Harrellson but Knicks hierarchy had a different view. I’m still very pleased with this selection as well as the selection of Shumpert in the first round.

Image via Kentucky Kernel

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Knicks Select Iman Shumpert in the First Round

     Thank god we didn’t get Jimmer! As I predicted and hoped, the Knicks selected Georgia Tech guard Iman Shumpert with the 17th pick in the draft. He’s incredibly athletic and he’s a great defensive player. He’s getting better at shooting and he’s a great finisher. He’s the pick we needed, apart from a big man. Now it’s rumored Toney Douglas will be traded but I believe the Knicks would be smart to keep TD. I believe him and Shumpert would compliment each other well coming off the bench. Shumpert should be the back up point while Douglas is the back up shooting guard. Shumpert’s 6’6 frame should compliment Douglas’ lack of height while Douglas’ shooting should compliment Shumpert’s lack of shooting well. I think this is a great selection for New York and it’ll be interesting to see what happens throughout the rest of the draft. Let’s hope we can get some picks.

Image via HighSchoolHoop.com

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