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Takes From the Last Week in Free Agency

Takes From the Last Week in Free Agency

I haven’t had a chance to get on here and blog about some of the recent happenings in the last few days of free agency. Here are my takes on some of the most interesting developments from around the league:

  • JJ Redick, Jared Dudley to the Clippers, Eric Bledsoe, Caron Butler to the Suns, picks to Milwaukee. I love this trade for the Clippers and Suns. LA gets back two of the league’s better perimeter shooters, on good contracts, to put around Chris Paul in a new Doc Rivers/Alvin Gentry run offense. Both guys are good team defenders as well, making them both upgrades over the severely one-dimensional Jamal Crawford. Crawford’s ball handling abilities will still have value, but Redick and Dudley are both better fits (and players) next to Chris Paul. From Phoenix’s standpoint, they acquire one of the prized young assets in the league right now. Just about every team with a need at point guard was rumored to be going after Bledsoe at one point or another, but Phoenix is the team that gets him – and they didn’t give up that much. Jared Dudley is a good player, but at age 27 he’s not an ideal player for a rebuilding team. The question now for Phoenix is if they move Goran Dragic or play him and Bledsoe together. In 185 minutes last season, the Clippers were a +11.1 NET-RTG with Bledsoe and Paul on the court together, so it’s clear that Bledsoe can succeed in a 2 point guard alignment. The issue will be with Dragic, who is a much better player with the ball in his hands and who has struggled to play shooting guard in two point guard sets. Milwaukee was the loser of this trade, but not for the trade itself. Losing JJ Redick for second round picks isn’t ideal, but they were going to lose him anyways and did well to at least get minor assets for him. The problem was acquiring Redick in the first place. They parted ways with Tobias Harris, who was impressive late in the season, to get Redick for their meaningless playoff run that ended with a first round shellacking at the hands of the Miami Heat. I hated the trade then, and I don’t like it now. More

Knicks Need To Take Care of Business Before Showdown In Miami

 

Fresh off the 102-88 victory over the Bucks on Wednesday night, the Knicks return home to take on the newest members of the NBA’s win column, the Washington Wizards. The Wizards won their first game of the season Wednesday, defeating the Blazers 84-82. Tonight’s game is the first of three very winnable games for the Knicks before they travel to Miami and play the Heat in an Eastern Conference showdown. These three games are crucial for the Knicks to avoid those let down games we have come so accustomed to seeing from them over the years.

The stretch starts tonight as the Wizards travel to the Garden trying to establish their first winning streak in a decade (not a real stat). The Wizards are 1-12 and are at the bottom of the league in points scored, at just 89.4 per. They then play the Suns in another Sunday afternoon contest at the Garden, there fourth already this season. The Suns currently sit at 7-9 and are coming off of an embarrassing 40-point shellacking to the Detroit Pistons, after which prompted their head coach Alvin Gentry to say they couldn’t have beaten an NCAA team. These two are both winnable games for the Knicks in their home building where they have yet to lose a game this year. The Knicks need to continue to take care of business at home before they hit the road.

The final game of this mini-three game stretch before the showdown with the Heat is in Charlotte against the surprising Bobcats. The Bobcats have seven wins this season, matching their total from all of last year. The Bobcats beat the Knicks once last year thanks to their inability to defend Boris Diaw. They play the Bobcats the night before they play the Heat in Miami on TNT, and this one has all the makings of a letdown game. This Knick team feels a little different than in the past though. They took care of business against the Pistons at home in an afternoon game the day before they played the Nets in the much-anticipated New York battle.

The combined record of the next three opponents for the Knicks is 15-28, and I would love to see a 13-4 record heading into Thursday’s matchup. It is imperative the Knicks take care of business, especially at home, against the lesser teams in the league. Those are the first steps in becoming an elite team in this league, beating the teams that you are supposed to.