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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Knicks Options for Thursday’s Draft

     In Thursday’s NBA draft the New York Knicks hold the 17th selection and are looking to purchase at least one more selection late in the first or in the second round. To the Knicks, this draft is just as important as acquiring Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony were. This is a draft that is going to determine whether we remain a 50 win playoff team or a 60 win championship contender. With 2 superstars and a potential 3rd on the way, the Knicks regular season success is almost a given but it’s what happens in the playoffs that really counts. This draft will provide either a springboard into greatness or a burden that keeps us in mediocrity in the vastly improving eastern conference.
     First and foremost, I believe the Knicks badly want BYU point guard Jimmer Fredette and they are desperately trying to trade up to grab him. I have heard rumors that they want to trade up above Utah at 12 to select Fredette. Toney Douglas and the 17th pick are primary what has been rumored to being offered by New York for this selection. While Fredette has the potential to be a great player in this league, I do not believe he is going to live up to his potential nor do I believe he is a good fit for the New York Knicks. The last thing we need is a ball dominant point guard to go along with our ball dominant small forward who already struggles to find chemistry  with our ball dominant power forward. In addition all 3 players are notoriously poor defensive players under a head coach, who I do like, that has notoriously been reluctant to emphasize defense in his up tempo coaching style. It just is not a great fit with the Knicks right now and I believe Douglas is a better player already and will be moving forward. He plays great defense, something we badly need, and has shown the ability to be an absolutely lethal 3 point shooter. I believe there is a lot of value in the mid first- second round portion of this draft and the Knicks can get a lot out of staying put at 17, keeping Douglas and passing on Jimmer.
     If the Knicks stay put at 17 they should have plenty of solid options. It’s been rumored that projected lottery picks Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo may slip all the way to 17. Walker is a versatile guard who can play point or shooting guard, he’s a great scorer, good defensive player, he’s clutch and he’s from the Bronx. He’d be a wonderful fit with the Knicks. Same for Bismack Biyombo, a 6’9 power forward/ center who is probably the best athlete in this class. His offensive game needs work but his athleticism, shot blocking, rebounding and post defense really would be a perfect fit next to Amare Stoudemire and would improve our defense greatly. Also the Knicks love Washington State shooting guard Klay Thompson, a knock down shooter, but there is little doubt that he will be gone by 17. In the likely scenario that all 4 players (including Jimmer) are gone by 17, there are still good players for the Knicks to take. I believe the Knicks will be looking at Morehead St Forward Kenneth Faried, USC center Nikola Vucevic, Georgia Tech guard Iman Shumpert, Providence guard Marshon Brooks and Kansas guard Josh Selby. I think the main 3 guys that the Knicks will be looking at from that group are Shumpert, Faried and Selby in that order. New York has made it no secret that they love Shumpert and there’s a lot to love about him. He’s a 6’6 point guard with a 6’10 wingspan, he’s a lockdown defender and he’s very athletic. He’s been so impressive that the Phoenix Suns are widely rumored to have tagged Shumpert as their guy with the 13th pick. If Shumpert is gone, I believe the Knicks will look long and hard at Morehead State forward Kenneth Faried. I believe he’s going to be the next Dennis Rodman only that Faried is a better offensive player and doesn’t have 7,000 tattoos, bleached hair or multiple nose rings. Faried is a high character, high energy, rebounding power forward who also averaged 17 points a game to go along with his 14 rebounds a game during his senior season. The only knock on him is that he’s 6’6 but he does have a 7 foot wingspan and is incredibly athletic. I have heard multiple people say “if he was 6’10 he’d be the first pick in the draft”. I think next to Melo and Stat, Faried would thrive on the offensive glass. I think he’d be a wonderful addition coming off the bench and getting 8 rebounds and 2-3 baskets a game. The player I really do not want to see taken here is Kansas guard Josh Selby. He’s been questioned as a pure point guard, maybe having skills more suited to an undersized shooting guard (kind of like Toney Douglas). He’s a huge character risk. He had problems in high school and at Kansas. Last season he was benched for most of the second half of the season. Selby thought he should have been the star of the team even though he didn’t play anywhere near that level. He’s also a CAA guy, the agency that seems to be running the Knicks right now, which is why I think he’s a dark horse to be the pick at 17 although I’m praying that I am wrong. I believe if the Knicks pass on Selby at 17, they will try to purchase his rights later in the draft.
     The Knicks do not currently own another pick in the draft after 17 but it’s widely believed that they will purchase at least one more pick before the draft ends. In the NBA, a team can pay up to 3 million dollars on a transaction. I believe the Knicks will give up at least 6 million dollars in draft picks. Some potential teams who might sell to the Knicks would be the Bulls, who own picks 28 and 30, Lakers, who own 41, 56 and 58, and the Kings who own 35 and 60. While it is not as clear who the Knicks will target with their acquired picks, there are a couple players I think the Knicks may target. I mentioned Josh Selby who is probably a late 1 – early 2 in terms of value, also Jeremy Tyler from Japan, Boston College’s Reggie Jackson and UCLA’s Malcolm Lee. Tyler is an intriguing forward prospect as he is 6’11, athletic and potential packed but has character issues after skipping his senior year of high school and struggling mightily in Japan. Reggie Jackson is a true point guard with a 7 foot wingspan who plays great defense. Malcolm Lee is a hybrid guard who is long and athletic and excels defensively.
     If I was drafting for the Knicks at 17, pending the fall of Biyombo or Walker, I would select Iman Shumpert. I think his size and defensive ability on the perimeter would give us a great weapon off the bench. With our undersized front court, I think we need to stockpile size in the back court. Landy Fields, 6’7, already fills one of those roles, I think the 6’6 Shumpert would be another great addition. If Shumpert is gone, I would draft Faried or consider a possible trade down with a team like Chicago or maybe even to accumulate picks next year, as we have 0 next year, in what will be considered a stronger draft class.
     Thursday night is very important for the Knicks, with a great draft they can be championship contenders, with a poor draft they could be average. I think this is just as important as getting our stars was as we have numerous holes to fill. I look for Shumpert or Faried to be the pick and I think the Knicks will get 2 others. Regardless of what happens, it will be interesting to see what happens.

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