Stoudemire, Williams, Shumpert Working Out With Isiah?

Frank Isola, beat writer for the NY Daily News (and fellow Isiah conspiracist) reports via twitter that Amar’e Stoudemire, Iman Shumpert and Shawne Williams will not report to Knicks camp until next week. The reason for their delayed arrival: a few workouts at the college of Isiah.

I don’t think this is a huge deal but I hate hearing any deal of involvement of Knicks down at FIU. Obviously Isiah has to be involved in some capacity. I doubt he’s running a workout or anything like that but obviously he knows those players are there and they might be there because Isiah is there. Clearly Dolan and Isiah’s still have each other on speed dial. Isiah is clearly involved with the Knicks and their front office decisions. Stoudemire’s back problems, Williams’ free agency, Shumpert is the first round pick. Who better to get a look at them then the back room puppet Isiah Thomas? Any decision Dolan and Knicks hierarchy make will run through Isiah and will be checked off by Isiah. I wish this weren’t the case but unfortunately it is. Why else would an NBA front office legend like Donnie Walsh be dismissed after leading the team to their first playoff season since 2003? Intern GM Glen Grundwald has ties to Isiah. Clearly Dolan still has his fat fingers in the cookie jar (see Carmelo Anthony firesale). Despite the fact that Isiah and guitar Jim will try and screw this up, it is very hard to mess up a team with this much talent. Not saying they can’t do it, but it should be a bit harder. Donnie Walsh laid the foundation for a great team, lets see what Sonny and Cher can do with it.

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Knicks Are 20/1 Odds to Win the Finals

Vegas has the Knicks at 20/1 odds to win this years NBA championship. This line puts them 7th in line to win it all. Here are the top 10 lines:

Miami 9/4

LA Lakers 5/1

Chicago 7/1

OKC 15/2

Dallas 17/2

Boston 12/1

Knicks 20/1

Orlando 22/1

San Antonio/ Memphis 25/1

Portland 30/1

I think this is about right. Obviously these are premature in that free agency has not occurred yet. I never put too much into these lines but for all the gamblers out there I think this is a pretty fair line. The Knicks definitely are flawed but with 2 superstars you never ever know. Especially in the league that saw LeBron James upset year after year in the playoffs and the league that saw the last lockout Knicks overcome the 8th seed and win the eastern conference.

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Ex-Knick Mozgov’s Entertaining Blog Post

I know he is no longer a Knick but Timofey Mozgov blogged about the end of the lockout and it is pretty awesome.

The End!

The NBA lockout is over, which means the stars who had left for Europe will soon come back. In expectation of the imminent parting, Timofey Mozgov begins to bid farewell to the supporters of BC Khimki and tells about what these months in Russia gave him – all in his blog at Sports.ru.

Hi everyone! So tell me, are you celebrating already?))) It’s still hard to believe, right? Just like that – abruptly and spontaneously, yes? 148 days and there you go! The end!!!

Actually, guys (and your female comrades-in-arms), please take my most sincere congratulations. All of us together – colleagues, people who love and value basketball, fans – without a doubt, have eagerly waited for these strokes of the pens which are exactly golden for all of us. It happened at last.

Now I’m going to reduce my emotions a little and tell you about this fact from a perspective of a player. My personal take.

148 days is a long time. It’s very long. Of course I won’t say this time I was on pins and needles. But I definitely wanted certainty. I really missed it. The prospect of having to pack your bags any time or having to look at them unpacked, to tell you the truth, wasn’t making me happy. Well, I think it’s clear. It’s good that the new agreement is in place for no less than five years, now it’s known. It means that this nightmare won’t repeat soon.

Aside from that, everything was not just OK – everything was just SUPER! My agent (yes, I mean Max – now you have seen his photo at last))) and me have made a decision that was the only one that’s right in my opinion: as soon as lockout showed itself, we have started to play in Europe.

When many of the guys across the ocean tormented themselves with painful doubts about all the delights of their remote and not so remote future, the other part of American basketball planet was keeping shape and making it better in field conditions. I don’t know which of these is good for Mozgov and which is bad for Kobe Bryant. For me the answer is obvious. Huge thanks to Khimki and, of course, to Viktor Bychkov personally, for taking me back with arms wide open. Thanks go to Rimas Kurtinaitis, who believed in me and let me do on the court what some of the NBAers really came to the Old World for – make progress.

Only during the start of the season in Russia I, at last, managed to completely forget about the consequences of that injury which I sustained overseas. When I learned about the diagnosis at the time, I was happy that, so to say, everything was fine and I was lucky that it wasn’t worse. It really could have been worse and it was really a good reason for rejoicing. But that everything was fine… Because of emotions then I rushed into a conclusion a little bit.

All in all, I really was able to step on the court soon after the injury, but even during the Eurobasket I still couldn’t use my leg at least 80% – I was lacking quickness and explosive speed.

The original projection by the doctors proved to be true: as they promised, half a year passed before I settled into shape in September or October. Then I could once again start doing what a center should. Also, I really got into rhythm, got my confidence back and learned some new things. So I can repeat myself – everything was done right.

Of course I knew that Khimki is my second home and I am always welcome here. It wasn’t a hard choice for me. But still, it was so nice to feel it again, to feel yourself at home: my native city, my native arena, the locker room, fans and friends! Everything is so dear, what I’m used to… Here, in this club, all the needed conditions are in place for this. Here’s a huge thank you to all people who were involved.

Here I’m writing this and I caught myself thinking that I got carried away with saying thanks and the memories. It resembles a goodbye a little bit. But I’m flying away not tomorrow. And, it seems, not the day after tomorrow either. So it means that it’s too early for goodbyes. Emotions…

First of all, Max is waiting for the official letter from Denver. Then all my future plans will get some tangible qualities. Second, anyway, I wanted to say goodbye to my fans and friends as it should be done. Because their support all this time was just great! And for that, once again, I’m very grateful.

Don’t ask me if I already got to talk to anybody of my American friends and teammates, to discuss what happened. Believe me, right now few people (other than Twitter fans))) care about text messages and calls – everybody is about to get snowed under with work. OK, we’ll move to all of that a bit later.

What can I add about the collective bargaining agreement. Of course, it’s already good that it’s signed)) And it’s twice as good that it’s definitely for more than five years. It means that this nightmare won’t repeat itself soon.

Actually, right now I know just as much as you do. I know that we are starting to prepare for the season on December 9 and our first game will happen after the 25th. Basically, there’s enough time for restoring the mutual understanding between teammates. It’s another deal what roster changes will happen and still, in what shape will the players join the team. Then we’ll have at least a remote idea of what lies ahead before us in the upcoming season.

But it’s clear even now that 66 games lie ahead. Yes, it’s not 82 games. But still, it’s not few. Especially over such period of time.

So, we’ll be following the news coming from the Nuggets. And right now I’m leaving to Greece with Khimki to play a Eurocup game vs. PAOK which is very important for us. So all of my thoughts are already there.

We’ll keep in touch)))

via sports.ru

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Broussard on Paul: “This is Not About Money”

ESPN’s Chris Broussard gave an interview on ESPN New York’s Rucco and Lundberg today and he discussed the possibility of Chris Paul coming to New York. In the interview he said he believes that Paul would come to New York for less money which is music to a lot of Knick fans ears. He also said he thinks the Hornets would trade him to New York if there was something to trade for (thanks Melo) and he gave his opinion on a potential Amar’e-Dwight Howard trade.

Here is the interview

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Knicks Interested in Caron Butler

Ken Berger and Alan Hahn are confirming that the Knicks reached out to Caron Butler’s agent today to express their interest in the free agent small forward. If the Knicks were to sign Butler it would be under the Mid Level Exemption (up to $5M per year over 4 seasons). I think Butler would actually be a great 6th man but I think the purpose for signing Butler would to add a piece to include in a possible trade for either Dwight Howard or Chris Paul. If the Knicks were to go the route of building on the two stars they already have, Butler would be a great piece. He can score with the best of them and he is an excellent defender. Butler is the all around quality player that the Knicks lack coming off the bench. His acquisition would likely mean that either Shawne Williams or Derrick Brown would not be brought back next season. Obviously this is a very tentative idea of acquisition but it is very interesting.

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Celtics Also In the Hunt for Chris Paul

According to multiple sources, the Celtics have offered Rajon Rondo in a trade for Hornets guard Chris Paul.

The Celtics have been discussing trading Rajon Rondo for Chris Paul, according to sources. But the Hornets don’t appear interested in a two-team deal.

Danny Ainge has been searching for a third team that would give the Hornets young pieces that would help Dell Demps in his rebuilding plan.

It is also unclear whether Paul would agree to an extension, something Ainge would need to execute a trade.

Via ImaGM

Paul has the power in this deal because, like Carmelo Anthony last season, he will be a free agent at the end of the season and any team trading for Paul will want him to sign an extension prior to the trade. However, Moke Hamilton had an interesting tweet on the subject:

 

It has been widely accepted in Knick nation that Paul will be playing alongside Melo and STAT but I warn Knick fans to beware of other teams. Paul is a superstar and other teams have more cap space and trade assets. He wants to play in New York yes but it makes more financial sense for him to maybe play elsewhere. It will be interesting to see what happens but right now there is absolutely no guarantee that Paul will be a Knick in 2012.

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Check Out Anthony Donahue’s Show on Knicks Blog Radio Tonight

I am a big Anthony Donahue fan and tonight at 9 Eastern (15 minutes) is the premiere of his show.

Everybody check it out!

here is the link to his show

and follow Anthony at @AnthonyMSG on twitter

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Could Toney Douglas Be on the Move?

Purely speculative here but remember when Toney Douglas was being shopped before the draft in an attempt to acquire then T’Wolves point guard Jonny Flynn?  Now with the drafting of Iman Shumpert, a more prototypical point guard at 6’5, could Douglas be on the move? Douglas is coming off of shoulder surgery and his often erratic play has often irked head coach Mike D’Antoni. I do not know if the league is as high on Douglas as I am but I think he is a very good player for our system. He will play defense and shoot. With Shumpert’s arrival Douglas should be relied on as a point guard less and should be relied upon more as an off-ball shooter.

So where would Douglas be moved? There haven’t been many rumors lately but I think if a team would come calling offering a low post presence in exchange for Douglas then the Knicks would think about making a deal. Also if the Knicks are going to try to make a trade for Chris Paul or Dwight Howard, I think Douglas is one of the only assets we have and they would not hesitate to put him in a deal.

I am not saying that Douglas is being rumored for any deals and this is purely speculative but it is just something to think about in the future…

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D’Antoni Must Be Careful With Stoudemire’s Health

The NBA regular season would run through April 26 and require teams to play at least one set of back-to-back-to-back games if a new labor deal is ratified in time to start on Christmas.

The league posted an outline of what the schedule would look like on its Twitter pages Sunday. The plan is a 66-game regular season, ending about 10 days later than usual. The last possible day of the NBA Finals would be June 26, two weeks later than the championship series ended last season.

Teams would play 48 games within their conference and 18 outside their conference. Teams will not visit every NBA city.

Teams will play about two more games per month, but no team would play on three straight nights more than three times.

Back-to-backs might also be played during the second round of the postseason.

via ESPN.com

This condensed schedule combined with a lost offseason will result in more player injuries this year in the NBA than in years past. Unfortunately, Knicks superstar Amar’e Stoudemire does not have the best injury history and wore down late in the season and in the playoffs last year. Part of the reason for his breakdown was bad luck, like trying a trick dunk before game 2 of the playoffs, but also because of Mike D’Antoni’s shortened rotation throughout the season. D’Antoni shortened the rotation due to a lack of team depth which is understandable but now with Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups to supplement some of Stoudemire’s scoring, D’Antoni must be smart with Stoudemire’s minutes. Only having completed 3 full seasons of his 9 year career, Stoudemire averaged 36 minutes per game last season. Despite his 78 games played, it was clear that his stamina and health declined late in the season resulting in a poorer on court performance. D’Antoni must relegate Stoudemire to 32-34 minutes per game in order to keep the power forward fresh. Unfortunately, the Knicks currently do not have a serviceable backup power forward on the roster. My suggestion is to use Jeffries there but also to give Shawne Williams minutes at that spot. Williams is 6’9 and has the toughness to play low post defense. He will not be anywhere near the All-NBA Defensive team but I think Williams can adequately guard power forwards. If he can get back to his 2010 early season form, I think Williams would be a nice stretch 4 to use in a smaller lineup.

Obviously I want to see Stoudemire on the court as much as possible as he is one of the most dominant and dynamic scorers in the league but he has clear injury problems that cannot be ignored. Remember that Stoudemire has 4 more high priced seasons in New York and the Knicks do not have the depth to replace him adequately if he goes down with a major injury. Hopefully Stoudemire can stay on the court but if he is unable to the Knicks may want to use the amnesty clause on him down the road. Obviously it is way too early to seriously discuss that but it is just something to think about…

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Knicks Free Agency: Who Goes? Who Stays?

The Knicks go into this free agency period with 5 free agents. Guards Anthony Carter and Roger Mason, Forwards Jared Jeffries and Shawne Williams and Center Shelden Williams. Before any moves can be made in terms of bringing a player in, the Knicks must decide which players they will bring back. It has been rumored that Shawne Williams, Roger Mason and Jared Jeffries will be offered veteran minimums and brought back for the 66 game 2011 NBA season. Are those 3 players the right guys to bring back?

Anthony Carter- I love Anthony Carter as a veteran leader. Unfortunately, we aren’t the Lakers or Celtics with late roster spots to give. We need 15 guys who can bring something to the table. I do not believe Anthony Carter fits on this team anymore. He was a nice fit last season when he had to play but with the drafting of Iman Shumpert I think Carter’s days as a Knick are over.

Roger Mason- I am a big proponent of Money Mase’s return to the Knicks. Mason showed his value late in the season and in the playoffs as an emergency guard and veteran leader. He struggled early and found himself in Coach D’Antoni’s doghouse. He showed down the stretch that he can play both guard spots if needed and he can shoot. I would feel more comfortable with Mason in there as opposed to Bill Walker or Andy Rautins.

Shawne Williams- Although he struggled down the stretch, I believe Williams should be retained for next season. Even though he struggled in the post-Melo trade era, his upside is without doubt. He is a 6’9 small forward who brings a great toughness to the team and who shot 40% from 3 last season. I think Williams proved himself on the court and off the court, staying off the police blotter, and I think he deserves another season with the Knicks.

Jared Jeffries – Say what you want about Jeffries’ offensive game but there is no denying that Jared Jeffries provides a defensive versatility that this team desperately needs. So what he averaged 1.8 points/game? The reality is that it doesn’t matter if Jeffries scores 0 points per game. In Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks have 2 of the most prolific scoring forwards of all time. Both players lack on the defensive end of the court. By contrast Jeffries is weak offensively but excels defensively. I think he is one of the guys that can help to provide more defensive help for this team and I think he should be retained.

Shelden Williams – I like Williams’ hustle and rebounding but the Knicks center right now is a numbers game. Turiaf is making 4 million this year so he is not going anywhere and should be the starter. 7’1 Jerome Jordan should make his Knicks debut this season after playing in Serbia for his rookie season. The team also drafted Josh “Jorts” Harrellson in the second round of the draft. These other centers all have more upside than Shelden Williams. The team will not have 4 centers and based on numbers and upside, Williams is the odd man out.

Overall, I think the Knicks will keep these guys because with over $60 million already in payroll they do not have the flexibility to be making a lot of moves right now. Not to mention that CP3 and D12 will be free agents next offseason and the Knicks do not want to tie up money that would restrict next years cap space.

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