Saturday, June 30, 2012
After surprisingly snagging skilled players with potential during the second round of recent NBA drafts, there was optimism surrounding what the Knicks could end up doing with the 48th overall pick of Thursday night's draft.
Both Landry Fields and Josh Harrellson made good first impressions and immediate impacts upon being drafted, so it wouldn't be too much to ask for this year's selection to make a decent contribution right off the bat, correct?
Wrong. Despite the fact that hometown kid Scott Machado (of Iona College) and the previously highly touted Darius Johnson-Odom (of Marquette) were both still available, the Knicks instead opted to draft Greek prospect Kostas Papanikolaou in the second round.
Papanikolaou's selection was met with an overwhelming amount of boos (then again, most of New York's picks are anyway) as the large group of Knicks fans roared with disappointment in Newark.
The Greek prospect will likely continue to play overseas for at least two more years, according to The New York Times. What's more, Papanikolau also won't be joining the Knicks' group of young studs at Las Vegas Summer League, as he will instead be playing in the Olympics.
Strapped for cap space as they look to fill out their roster while still staying under the hard cap, many might have expected the Knicks to draft a player who could've at least made the trip to training camp this coming fall. Surely, potentially signing a second-round draft pick wouldn't have been too much of a burden.
But New York is instead trying to maintain ALL possible (hard) cap space in an attempt to retain their existing free agents. Though a second-round selection would have been rather cheap, apparently the team doesn't want to take any chances. As many have already alluded to, the Knicks opted to "draft and stash."
The 6'8 Papanikolaou is described by "Draft Express" as having a best case scenario of turning out similarly to Omri Casspi. They also go on to say the forward is a sporadic catch and shoot player who although rarely dribbles the ball, can spread the floor effectively, ala Casspi or even the Knicks' own Steve Novak. As it just so happens, a player with that ability is exactly who I was looking for the team to draft. It's just unfortunate they picked someone who won't be able to step in and make a contribution right away.
By picking the forward with some long-range prowess, the Knicks also did the exact opposite of what Walt "Clyde" Frazier told Knicks Journal he would have done in the draft. The Knicks legend and broadcaster instead suggested the team fill a need by selecting a backup big man or point guard.
Despite not adding an immediate contributor via the NBA Draft, the Knicks will still have an opportunity to assess some other worthy young talent next month in Las Vegas. Though Machado, a Queens native, went undrafted after not being selected by the Knicks, early reports of how the team's Summer League roster is shaping up are yet to include him.
Friday, June 29, 2012
Knicks broadcaster and legend Walt “Clyde” Frazier is one of the most beloved NBA players of all-time. His career has been highlighted by his flashy play on the court and suave style off of it. It’s actually been forty-five years since Clyde himself was drafted into the league.
With the 2012 NBA Draft taking place Thursday night, Clyde hosted fans at his new restaurant, “Clyde Frazier’s Wine & Dine” in the heart of New York City. The restaurant (its ceilings flanked by an array of the legend’s stylish suits from over the years) certainly epitomizes the coolness of Clyde, complete with a chill atmosphere, including a sit-down area for dinner, a bar & longue, and even a free-throw shooting station. With a bevy of flat-screen TVs surrounding the place, fans are guaranteed to keep tabs on their favorite teams while they wine & dine.
I caught up with the man himself to reminisce about him getting drafted all those years ago. What was it like back then? Find out as you read on to hear Frazier’s thoughts about the NBA draft, what the Knicks should’ve done, his summer plans, and more!
Q: Tonight marks a special moment in the lives of many top NBA prospects. Take me back to that night in 1967. What do you remember about the day you were drafted?
A: When I was drafted, there was no hoopla like this! The day I was drafted, I remember going to class. Seattle called me and said they would select me if I were available. So I went on with my classes, but when I came back around 3PM, I got a call that the Knicks had drafted me instead. Throughout the whole process, the Knicks hadn’t even talked to me. I was totally shocked!
We never did anything like these prospects do now. We never had any workouts or conversations. I recall Chicago and Baltimore had called me, but that was about it.
Q: That’s a big shame. You of all people weren’t given the opportunity to show off one of your flashy outfits.
A: When I was drafted, we had a small press conference in New York, and that was it. Actually, I brought out the sharkskin suit that time. Even before I was on the Knicks, I was getting dressed up. I wore a white shirt and black tie. I’ve always been into fashion.
Q: Let’s talk about tonight’s NBA draft. If you’re in the Knicks’ position, what type of talent do you look for in the second round?
A: The Knicks are always going to look for the best player available. They could use a shot blocker/rebounder, and maybe a point guard too. Those are the team’s needs, but aside from addressing those, I’m sure they’d just look for the best player. I’m optimistic though because of what they’ve been able to do with a pick like Landry Fields in the second round, and even Iman Shumpert at seventeenth overall last year came as a surprise because no one knew him.
Q: That’s interesting. Drafting a bruiser or a point guard would immediately put in place a backup for the likes of Tyson Chandler or Jeremy Lin. Don’t the Knicks have a more pressing need at shooting guard for someone who can spread the floor?
A: A shooting guard is always nice, and the Knicks could use one. But I think I’d prefer someone who plays one of the other positions more. Fields is a two-guard, but I understand he doesn’t really score. What’s nice about him though is he does all the other things well. The team already has scoring and now under Coach Woodson, they’ll aim to become even more defensive oriented, so it’s all about building around the core.
Q: Talking about building the team and assessing all the young talent, I know MSG Network will be covering the Knicks’ run during Summer League in Las Vegas. You’ll be a part of the broadcasts, I’m guessing?
A: I’m looking forward to going out there in July. I always enjoy seeing the young players come out, and at the same time, get a little nice vacation while hanging out in Vegas too.
Q: With all this new talent entering the NBA so quickly, how do you as a broadcaster brush up on each player's skills to make sure you’re ready to make solid analysis?
A: A lot of times, I’ll be surfing the channels and I’ll catch old games. Because Summer League is coming up, I just try and read a lot, gathering information. Starting tomorrow, we’ll all start breaking down the players’ strengths and weaknesses, so that’ll help familiarize me with the cream of the crop.
Q: The Knicks have seen quite a few players thrive in Vegas and show potential in recent years. One of those players was Toney Douglas. I know you always say Toney is one of the few Knicks players to ever seek out your advice as a Knicks legend, so can you shed some light on what happened to him, and what he needs to do to bounce back next season?
A: Toney needs to work on his ball handling and penetration. He needs to think more like a point guard--- has to dish before he can swish. He has a tremendous work ethic, but he needs to work on improving his weaknesses and regaining that confidence. He lost a lot of confidence last season.
Q: If Toney’s not guaranteed to get playing time next season, how does he go about regaining that confidence, even as he waits in the wings for a shot at redemption?
A: That’s the X-Factor about players! How do you regain it? How do you handle coming off the bench? It’s not for everybody, but if he wants his career to prosper, he has to find that balance. No matter what his situation is, he has to come in with that same intensity. He’s an excellent defender who can create havoc. With Coach Woodson focused on defense, that’ll be a plus for him.
Q: Let’s talk about the restaurant. Obviously it’s a cool spot, and could prove to be a great summer hangout for a lot of folks. You’ve hosted a bunch of former teammates and a couple of current Knicks here so far, but is there anyone you’re still looking forward to having in the near future?
A: Yea, definitely. Especially Iman Shumpert, because he just moved out here around the corner! Hopefully he’ll be coming in more. Then I’m going to start talking to some of the other guys, like Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire. Once they hear about the food, I’m sure they’d like to come in!
Q: You do a lot of different events here too. I know former MLB player Jim Leyritz came by to do a book signing, and you even had MSG Network’s own Alan Hahn host his “Knicks Fixers” here at the end of the season. Anything else planned during the summer?
A: We try to tweet a lot about those events. Alan came in and did a nice little Q&A session. I liked that. We’d like to do some more of those. Maybe we can try to get Boomer & Carton in here too to do a segment or something! That would be cool.
Q: I know you mentioned the restaurant tweets a lot about upcoming events, but you yourself have a personal Twitter account these days, too! What made you do it? Follow anyone cool that you like to keep tabs on?
A: I haven’t really gotten a chance to follow too many people because I just started. But I just got this new phone, the Samsung Galaxy S3, so I now I can start tweeting more often. I’ve been fighting it, but now I think it’s time I step up and enter the 21st century. It’s something I enjoy doing, though. I like communicating with the fans and letting them know what I’m up to, so it’s going to add a new dimension to my game.
Thursday, June 28, 2012
The NBA Draft begins at 7PM EST tonight, but because they only hold the 48th pick, Knicks fans will likely be waiting quite a while to see who their team selects.
Nevertheless, whomever the Knicks select will be expected to make an impact next season. By selecting players like Landry Fields and Josh Harrellson during the second round of recent past drafts, New York has not only set the bar high for its incoming prospect, but could benefit from an immediate contribution too.
The most pressing need for the Knicks at the moment seems to be at the shooting guard position. Though Marc Berman of The New York Post reports the team is gunning for a player like Darius Johnson-Odom or Kevin Murphy, my friend Jim Cavan suggests the Knicks potentially draft Ohio State guard William Buford instead in his latest piece at The New York Times' "Off the Dribble."
I happen to agree with him whole-heartedly. Buford is an impressive shooter, who as Cavan notes, would help the Knicks spread the floor effectively. Steve Novak and Shawne Williams have done a great job of this over the past two seasons for New York, but the team could use more players with similar skills. Carmelo Anthony and Jeremy Lin (the team's two primary ball-handlers) thrive by penetrating to the basket, so it's crucial to have players with sure-fire shots to place around the perimeter. If Anthony and/or Lin get double-teammed going to the hole, they need to have confidence the teammates they kick the ball out to can knock down shots.
Cavan also points out that Buford's steady enough defense could come in handy as the Knicks wait for Iman Shumpert to return from his knee injury. What's more, Buford seems like the kind of player that can handle the big moments a place like the Big Apple can deliver. The guard helped Ohio State reach the Sweet Sixteen in this year's NCAA tournament, and as the pressure continues to mount for the Knicks to make noise in the playoffs, Buford could certainly do his part as rotation player---even in the spotlight.
The fact of the matter is New York would benefit from filling out their roster a bit with some pure shooters. Because re-signing players like Lin and Novak will be a priority for them (and they will need to do this while staying under the hard cap), adding a talented enough shooting guard via free agency for the right price may prove to be difficult. The draft may be the Knicks' best chance at reeling in the talent they are in need of. Buford fills the need and seems like an available enough option in tonight's draft.
**For more NBA Draft buzz, listen in to the "Bottom Line Sports Show," (co-produced by former Knicks Charles Oakley & Penny Hardaway), where I'll be appearing to share my thoughts on the Knicks' potential targets and more. It starts at 9PM EST and you can listen by clicking on this link. **
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
With July 1st and the NBA's free agency period steadily approaching, Newsday's Al Iannazone reports that the Knicks have extended qualifying offers to both Jeremy Lin and Landry Fields.
It's well known that the Knicks will look to lock up with a long-term contract. Whether or not they'll have to use their Midlevel Exception (or instead own "Bird Rights) to do so remains to be seen.
Lin, who will turn 24 this summer, showed great potential as "Linsanity" engulfed the entire NBA nation this season. Building up chemistry with the likes of Fields, Steve Novak, and even Amar'e Stoudemire, he proved that he easily can elevate the play of his teammates on a nightly basis.
The young guard's ability to penetrate to the basket and evade defenders makes him a multi-talented player for New York. That said, while he thrives with the ball (whether he takes it to the hole or distributes it effectively), Lin will have to continue working towards an on the court understanding with Carmelo Anthony. The pair being able able to develop an on the court balance of one another's skills will be crucial to the Knicks' success.
But Coach Mike Woodson and the front office seem to have faith that Lin can be the team's point guard for the foreseeable future. Fields' role/place on the team is, however, another story. Has the Stanford product become expendable with the likes of Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith stepping up in big ways this past season?
Of course, Fields is an intangibles guy and serves as a key cog in the Knicks' engine because he does all of the gritty, little things. He's certainly a good piece of the puzzle, but determining his value on the free agent market may prove to be more difficult because his production (or lack there of, at times) may not solely represent how much he's really worth.
Because of this, while New York may aim to strike the iron while it's hot and retain Lin, they can also afford to take their time with Fields. Now that they've extended the qualifying offer, he represents a decent asset. The team can now explore different avenues in regard to Fields as they examine his value both as a free agent or as a trade asset.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Knicks swingman J.R. Smith notified the team he has declined his player option for next season.
Howard Beck of The New York Times reports that Smith in fact opted out of his current contact, but still hopes to sign a new one to keep him in New York.
By opting out, the eight-year veteran not only stands to receive a 20% raise, but also sign a long-term contract with the Knicks. According to Beck, the team would be able to offer Smith a four-year contract worth approximately $12.2 million without dipping into their Midlevel Exception. Instead, New York will own "non-Bird Rights" for his new potential contract.
Smith averaged 12.5 points, 3.9 boards, and 1.5 steals in 35 contests for the Knicks after returning to the NBA following a stint in China. He provided a big boost off the pine, serving as a headlining attraction of the Knicks' own bench production, also known as "Mobb Deep." What's more, though Coach Mike Woodson chose to publicly discipline him often, the two built rapport this past season, with Woodson favoring Smith due to his defensive prowess.
As the ultimate X-Factor, Smith elevated his team and electrified the Garden crowd on a nightly basis. That said, the hot and cold nature to his game proved to be too inconsistent at times. Fans often saw the Knicks "ride or die" with Smith.
The veteran guard did sink the Knicks' ship quite a bit with his trigger happy shot selection, but when he was hot, there appeared to be no opponent who could stop him. Though he's been in the league for quite a while, Smith is only 26 years old and would seemingly still be entering his prime at the conclusion of a four-year pact. If he shows loyalty and re-signs with New York for the discounted rate (rather than seeking out the full MLE from another team), perhaps he's worth taking the risk on, given all the other factors going into the decision.
Smith admittedly enjoyed his time donning orange and blue, being able to also play with one of his best friends in Carmelo Anthony. He currently still resides in his hometown state of New Jersey. In addition to filling a key role for the Knicks, Smith reportedly enjoys playing so close to home and family.
For both the Knicks and Smith, the pros seem to outweigh the cons when it comes to continuing their union in New York. Should the Knicks value Smith over all other comparable options at his position, they can only hope the brights lights of the Big Apple appeal to Smith more than cash ever could.
Monday, June 25, 2012
The Miami Heat celebrated its NBA championship victory earlier today with a parade down the streets in the heart of South Beach.
Afterwards, the entire team congregated in a packed American Airlines Arena to keep the celebration going with fans, as each and every member of the team was publicly recognized for their contributions this season.
While the "Big Three" certainly headlined Miami's title run, the franchise made sure it gave credit where it was due to from every player from A to Z.
Among those recognized, of course, included former Knicks big man Ronny Turiaf. The ever exuberant veteran was praised for his ongoing enthusiasm throughout the season and playoffs, as he could constantly be seen roaring with supportive cheers from the bench.
Though he came close with the Lakers in 2008 (losing in The Finals), this season's victory marks the first championship win of Turiaf's career. He joined the Heat midseason and averaged 3.5 points. 4.5 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks for the team during the regular season. The big man also went on to play in twelve postseason contests, starting seven. He holds a player option to potentially return to South Beach next season.
Turiaf was a bit of a fan-favorite during his time with Knicks, as he often electrified the Garden crowd by swatting away opposing shots and diving for loose balls. He's continued to battle injuries throughout his career, but his perseverance and energy prove he's most deserving of this great accomplishment.
Take a look below for more photos of the former Knick during the Heat's remarkable run. To keep up with Turiaf, you can still follow him on Twitter as @Ronny_Turiaf.
Last summer, a plethora of NBA players took to the charity circuit, organizing an abundance of barnstorming games to benefit various causes. As these athletes pondered their own futures while enduring the NBA lockout, they still gave back to those who needed it most.
This summer, players like the Spurs' Danny Green are aiming to make such goodwill a tradition of sorts.
Green will return to his hometown of Long Island this summer, ready to hit the hardwood at Adelphi University for the Malone Mulhall Benefit Game on Saturday, July 28th. Approaching its second annual contest, the MMBG honors Michael Mulhall, as well as Jamie and Paige Malone, all of whom lost their lives in a car accident in 2010. All three spent honorable time helping kids with special needs at Camp ANCHOR.
Proceeds from the game will be donated to the "Jamie & Paige Malone Foundation" and "Michael Mulhall Univeristy of Scranton Scholarship."
Supporting the worthy cause, Green served as a headlining attraction for last year's inaugural event. He will once again do so this summer, coming off a breakout season in the NBA. The young guard averaged 9.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, and shot 44% from downtown in 66 contests (38 starts) for San Antonio.
Among those expected to join Green at the MMBG include former Golden State Warriors forward Chris Taft, as well as St. John's Red Storm alums Justin Burrell and Paris Horne.
Taft, who played his high ball at Xaverian High School in Brooklyn, last donned an NBA uniform during the 2005-06 season before succumbing to injuries. Hitting the comeback trail, he played in the NBA D-League this past season. Burrell and Horne (both of whom participated in last year's game) will reunite after leading St. John's during March Madness last season. Both went on to play professionally overseas this past year.
A couple of NBA notables are expected to be named head coaches for the benefit game as well. Last year, Knicks Journal caught up with MSG and ESPN commentator Mike Breen, who acted as a head coach for one of the squads. For more on his thoughts on the cause and the game itself, you can read his interview here.
The MMBG not only serves as an exciting and entertaining opportunity to watch some young and upcoming talent during the NBA offseason, but also a chance to support a great cause and honor three fantastic individuals. You can find out more about this year's event by clicking here or simply follow the organizers on Twitter @MaloneMulhallBG.
Saturday, June 23, 2012
The ruling marked a big victory for the Knicks, who will look to retain both Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak this summer. As a result of the ruling, the team will also be able to reserve its Midlevel Exception (worth an approximate $5 million) to lure in an outside talent as well.
However, because New York's payroll is steadily approaching the $74 million hard cap, as it stands they can only spend about $3 million from the MLE. That is, of course, unless Glen Grunwald finds a crafty way to dump certain players (and their salaries) elsewhere.
As Knicks Journal's pal Alan Hahn notes in his exclusive "Knicks Fix" at MSG.com, the Knicks turned heads when they were able to waive Chauncey Billups and trade Ronny Turiaf in order to subsequently bring in Tyson Chandler.
Luckily for New York, the mountain to climb in order to clear salary this season is nowhere near as high as it was last offseason. As much as some Knicks fans may want to see Toney Douglas get a shot at redemption next season under coach Mike Woodson, he would seem to represent a perfect candidate to be shipped elsewhere to free up salary. Douglas stands to make $2 million next season. Trading him the way they traded Turiaf would potentially allow the Knicks to look into using the full MLE.
Should they look to keep its core intact and simply add on to what they already have, however, there are still quite a few veterans who would to listen to a New York offer of $3 million. While the Knicks and their fans may have to count Steve Nash and Ray Allen (who still qualify as skillful starters and stand to receive more lucrative offers) out, players like Jason Kidd, Lamar Odom, and Raymond Felton still could be intrigued.
It's my strong belief that both Kidd and Odom would have entertained a Knicks offer of the Bi-Annual Exception (worth $1.9 million), if the NBPA had lost the hearing anyway. Kidd understands he's no longer a starter in the league, and if interested in playing in New York next season, be it with the Nets or the Knicks. Odom is a Queens native who is hungry for an opportunity at redemption after struggling to make an impact in Dallas this past season. Both have signed more lucrative contracts over the course of their careers, and may value the right situation more than the money.
Felton perhaps represents a more intriguing option. This is because while New York may actually have substantial enough money to throw his way, it's unknown what kind of role they could/would offer. In a perfect world, the team will re-sign Lin and then lure in a veteran point guard to spell him and act as sixth man. While the veteran Kidd may enjoy this, Felton may want to continue starting.
Felton should by no means be prioritized by the Knicks over or instead of Lin. He'd be a great option off the bench, especially considering how much the team could have used more of an impact from Baron Davis this past season.
It's possible Felton, who is open to returning to New York, could be sold on this scenario. Though he started at point guard all season long for the Blazers, he backed up Ty Lawson is Denver for 21 games after being traded in the Carmelo Anthony deal during the 2010-11 season. Felton played well off the pine, averaging 11.5 points. 6.5 assists and 1.3 steals in 31.8 minutes per game. Ironically enough, his numbers as a backup with Denver were basically identical to his numbers in Portland last season. The only difference--his shooting percentages were actually much higher in Denver.
If the Knicks can sell him on the role, asserting he'd receive enough minutes, Felton could end up making a huge impact while experiencing similar success to his first Big Apple stint. It was overly apparent how much Amar'e Stoudemire would have benefited from playing with someone like Felton again this season. Though he did start to heat up as chemistry developed with Lin, having both guards in his corner would really make things easier for STAT.
No matter which veteran(s) the Knicks end up targeting and potentially luring in, Hahn and I agree that following the Miami Heat's model for success and surrounding your stars with strong role players (who are open to signing discounted deals for a chance to win big) is the way to go.
You can read more of my thoughts on the issue as I recognize Mike Miller's impact on the Heat during their championship run this postseason in my latest contribution for The New York Times' NBA blog, "Off the Dribble."
Friday, June 22, 2012
As much as NBA fans may have wanted LeBron James to be denied his chance at an NBA title, it's hard to deny that this was his year.
James and the Heat not only seemed to continue to build that necessary chemistry during the regular season, but also displayed that killer instinct necessary during the postseason. With their backs to the walls a couple times, Miami fought back and moved onward.
Kevin Durant and his Thunder teammates are a hard-working great of guys that are fun to watch and easy to root for. With all the drama surrounding the Heat over the last two seasons, the Thunder likely had every NBA fan not from South Beach rooting for them to take home the title.
But it simply wasn't their time. Even with home-court advantage, this just wasn't the year the Thunder would win the NBA Finals. Everyone expected the Heat to come out last season and win a championship right out the gates, but it takes time to build chemistry, understand one another on the court, and develop that resilient mentality necessary to win big. Though they continued to hear the critics loud and clear, the Heat nevertheless put in that time, making this year their golden one of opportunity.
The fact that the Thunder has a young core is irrelevant. This group's young studs have a high level of maturity as it is, but they have to keep working. Their achievement thus far (just reaching the NBA Finals) is impressive, but it'll take more time to win an NBA championship.
Though it seemed like an eternity, the fact that it took the Heat only two years to win a championship with their own core is impressive. The Thunder can only hope to achieve the same success next season.
NBA Fans don't want to see the Heat to succeed, but to be able to take home the title in just two years time takes a hell of a team. Of course, Miami's "Big Three" represents perhaps the most star-studded trio the league has ever seen. But this team as a whole is built like an overall champion. It took more than just the stars to win big, but it would appear as though the Heat have always known that. Their model for success, surrounding their stars with some of the league's top role players in guys like Shane Battier, Mike Miller, and Udonis Haslem, has continued to look strong. This championship title simply puts a stamp of approval on their mentality for building a winner.
As much as most NBA fans would hate to admit it, the team they root for should take a page out of Miami's book. The group they've built, along with the maturity they developed, helped them achieve the ultimate goal.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Yesterday, we recognized Jason Kidd as the media and Knicks fans alike continue to map out the endless possibilities of veterans available to join the team next season.
Yesterday it was Kidd, last week it was Ray Allen. Today, the speculation surrounding Steve Nash donning orange and blue for a stint in the Big Apple has returned with a vengeance.
My friend Jared Zwerling from ESPN New York added some good fuel to the fire, with a little help from a Knickerbocker legend.
At a promotional event this morning in New York, Zwerling asked the free agent to be about the possibility of playing for the Knicks. Nash, who resides in the heart of SoHo during the NBA offseason, has always kept his ears open to such an opportunity, dating back to when Mike D'Antoni first began coaching the team.
Even though D'Antoni's tenure in New York has ended, Nash could still end up with the Knicks. In just a few short weeks, the team will have some crucial decisions to make regarding their free agent targets. Though Jeremy Lin, who took the entire nation by storm this season, is a free agent who at this point looks likely to return, the Knicks may instead opt to go in a different direction.
Somewhere in between all the "Linsanity" and Lin's struggles against teams like the Miami Heat lies his true potential. Given his short stint, perhaps the Knicks will feel that's too small of a sample size to base a major commitment like a long-term contract off of. If this is the case, Nash clearly represents a safer bet as an established player and bonafide all-star, even at 38 years of age.
With top-tier talents like Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, and Amar'e Stoudemire already on board, the Knicks know the time is now for them to legitimately chase a championship. A two-time MVP still chasing his first NBA title, like Nash, could ultimately be a key missing piece to their puzzle.
Nash said he would certainly listen to offers from the Knicks if they came calling this summer.
If all strong desire from New Yorkers and a chance at the trophy isn't enough to lure Nash in, perhaps a major endorsement from a Knicks legend is. Nash bumped into Walt "Clyde" Frazier at the event, who enthusiastically told him, "We need you in New York!" according to Zwerling. What's more, Frazier tweeted the above picture of the two Hall of Fame-caliber point guards together.
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Should the Players Union win the hearing, New York will be able to re-sign both Lin and Novak, and still be able to use their Midlevel Exception on someone else. Should the NBPA lose, however, there may not be enough money to go around.
Until then, however, the media and Knicks fans alike are enjoying pondering which savvy veterans may be strong fits in New York. While last week, it was Ray Allen. Just who happens to be this week's latest Knickerbocker pipe dream?
That would be NBA champion and future Hall of Famer Jason Kidd, who will be a free agent. There's a good chance the 39 year old will sign the last contract of his career this summer, and he's looking for that perfect fit before riding off into the sunset.
That perfect pairing may ultimately be teaming up with good friend Deron Williams. Realizing his best days are behind him, Kidd is open to playing a reserve role next season. Whether Kidd flocks to Brooklyn for another stint with the Nets, or Williams comes to Dallas to play in his hometown state of Texas with the Mavericks, the two golf buddies are quite intrigued about the idea of playing together.
Though playing in Brooklyn may have its appeal, so does donning orange and blue while playing in the heart of New York City. While Kidd believes he and Williams could play well off one another, he is also open to playing a big brother like role with the Knicks, potentially mentoring the up and coming Jeremy Lin and passing on some of his Hall of Fame caliber knowledge.
Given's Lin short (yet remarkable) stint with the Knicks this season, New York would be smart to pair him up with a veteran guard as he continues to transition into a full-time starting floor general. Kidd, who is also good friends with 2012 Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler, could be a perfect fit. Who else would a team want molding their point guard of the future?
Though Kidd joining the Knicks may only be viewed as a pipe dream by many, is it possible New York could sign him regardless of the outcome of the hearing? Should the NBPA lose the hearing, New York's MLE will be solely dedicated to Lin. If Novak proves to have then priced himself out of the Knicks market with only the Bi-Annual Exception available, perhaps Kidd would sign for that value instead.
The impact Kidd would have due to his veteran presence is undeniable, but the fact of the matter is he has declined and is no longer able to take on the burden of minutes at the point guard position for a team. Thus, the best potential fits for Kidd may not want to use their full MLE (or even the majority of it) on him.
Sunday, June 17, 2012
Iman Shumpert's rookie campaign with the Knicks was an exciting and eventful one. He fought through various minor injuries to make an impact many had not expected.
The Georgia Tech product first emerged as the athletic headlining attraction for a Knickerbocker bench that otherwise became known as "Mobb Deep," but soon clawed his way into the starting lineup.
Though he entertained fans with his electrifying dunks all season long, Shumpert won Coach Mike Woodson over by displaying some strong defensive prowess. A fearless defender, the young gun took on an array of offensive opponents, such as Paul Pierce, Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, and even Dirk Nowitzki.
That is why it was most disheartening for his team to watch him go down with a major injury in the first round of this season's playoffs. After suffering a torn ACL against the Heat, the most optimistic diagnosis for Shumpert was a 6-8 month timetable for return.
Having suffered the injury at the end of April, it was clear Shumpert would be missing the start of next season either way. That said, the Knicks could have still been hopeful for him to return closer to six months later, rather than eight.
Perhaps not anymore. Though he sang the team's training staff praises regarding the early stages of his rehab process, Shumpert, an active Twitter user, has said in posts he doesn't plan on hitting the court until January.
While things can always change and he may find himself ahead of schedule as the season draws closer, it appears as though Shumpert is prepared to not rush things as he makes his way back. The Knicks obviously want him at full strength, so perhaps slow and steady is the smart way to be. Having said that, only time will tell whether Shumpert will be in game shape come January without any training camp or Summer League. It may be a while until he can fully make the impact the Knicks have come to expect and rely on.
Nevertheless, the young gun has been working hard and is already off his crutches. Watch the clip above to hear his thoughts about the rehab process and his expectations for next season, courtesy of MSG.com.
Friday, June 15, 2012
The NBA Finals are not only underway, but heating up to be an intense and electrifying matchup. Though the Heat and Thunder have three formers Knicks in total on their squads, none of those players are yet to hit the hardwood in the championship series.
Thunder backup big man Nazr Mohammad is best remembered by New Yorkers for beginning to fill the void at center left by Patrick Ewing. Though both players were obviously on entirely different levels, Mohammad performed respectively and stepped up to do the best he could to fill the once present massive void. After averaging 10.9 points and 8.1 rebounds per game in 54 contests, he was prematurely traded in 2005 to the Spurs for Malik Rose and a future first round draft pick that the Knicks ultimately used to select David Lee. Since, Mohammad's career has continued as he's served as spot starter for teams like the Bobcats and Thunder.
Though former Knicks big man Eddy Curry's career has been plagued with major injuries since 2007, the Heat took a chance on him this season. Curry, who still owns career averages of 13 points and 5.2 rebounds per game, has only appeared in 24 contests since the 2008-09 NBA season. His Knicks tenure was filled with headlines of unfulfilled and unreached potential. He actually came into the league alongside current New York center Tyson Chandler on the Bulls, with both big men expected to make major impacts. Though it's taken Chandler a little longer than expected, he's emerged as an intimidating defensive presence. While Curry was once heralded as "Baby Shaq," he's failed to reach a level of play similar to Chandler's.
Ronny Turiaf also joined the Heat this season, but his path to Miami was one much more traveled...literally. To make room for Chandler, the Knicks quickly jettisoned Turiaf to the Wizards in December. The big man struggled with injuries, but still managed to play in a few contests before breaking his hand. Closer to the trading deadline, Turiaf was later traded to the Nuggets, who subsequently waived him, allowing the big man to sign with the championship contender. Turiaf is most known this postseason for his comical celebrates on the bench as his superstar teammates try to come away with an NBA title.
While Curry is almost certain never to don orange and blue ever again, both Mohammad and Turiaf will be coming off more lucrative contracts (Turiaf was more recently let out his upon being waived. Mohammad will be concluding a two-year contract in Oklahoma City at the end of The Finals). The Knicks could use an extra big man on the roster, with only the raw and unproven Josh Harrellson and Jerome Jordan under contract for next season. Jared Jeffries is expected to be back as well, but it's unknown what the market for him will be next month.
Given their lack of playing time and the missed opportunity to prove themselves this postseason, Mohammad and/or Turiaf may be open to returning to the Big Apple for the veteran's minimum. Both were well liked in New York City, and could easily see playing time while filling a void at a reasonable price. Both the Knicks and either player would surely benefit from a low risk/high reward type reunion.
Thursday, June 14, 2012
The highly anticipated arbitration hearing between the NBA and its Players Union was held yesterday. Though no decision was immediately made, with whom the arbitrator sides will undoubtedly be a huge factor in the Knicks' offseason plans.
Should the Players Union win, players like Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak will retain their Bird Rights heading into free agency. Thus, the Knicks would not have to dip into their Midlevel Exception to sign either one. If the arbitrator sides with the league, however, the team's exception will almost surely be solely dedicated to Lin. They would then need to get creative in order to re-sign Novak.
While retaining Lin and Novak, both of whom who electrified the Big Apple last season, is priority number one, New York is hoping to be able to sign both and still save the MLE to bring in more talent.
With a plethora of veteran players available this summer, the Knicks could look to fill certain voids, bringing in a backup point guard, a veteran shooting guard, or even a backup big man. Personally, it's my belief that not only does Ray Allen fill a void, but his skills and veteran presence make a perfect fit amongst the team's blend of talent. I made the case for luring him to New York (granted Lin, Novak, and the Players Union win the hearing) at The New York Times' NBA blog, "Off the Dribble," just the other day.
But not everyone believes the Knicks are in need of more talent moving forward. NBA Commissioner David Stern appeared on ESPN Radio in New York to touch on some of the league's more pressing issues, the hearing included.
As fans and media alike ponder the importance of the Players Union winning the hearing just so the Knicks have the MLE available for an outside talent, Stern reminded all that even if the NBPA lose the hearing (which he believes they will), the Knicks are still likely to retain Jeremy Lin regardless.
And to Stern, continuing to pair an up and coming guard like Lin with the team's existing talent is a huge move in the right direction. The Commissioner not only seemed to recognize the strong foundation the Knicks have begun to build on with Lin, Carmelo Anthony, and Amar'e Stoudemire, but also went on to praise the level of talent of their surrounding pieces. In addition to their stars, Stern cited Tyson Chandler and even Iman Shumpert as strong pieces for New York's future. With all the existent talent, Stern didn't appear to see the need for anyone else major. Putting it more simply, he asserted, "The Knicks are loaded!"
Though Stern may see it that way, various injuries seemed to not only haunt the Knicks all season long, but clearly stood in their way during the postseason. It's important to build depth to ensure as many roster holes are addressed as possible in time for a strong postseason run. Having the MLE readily available for an outside talent would certainly go a long way towards allowing New York to do that.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Though each new season begins with even higher hopes of contention, the Knicks have been ousted in the first round of the playoffs the past two seasons.
Forced to watch at home, most Knicks players will probably hold back from rooting for anyone in this season's NBA Finals, which begin tonight. But the same can't be said for all of their fans.
After watching New York lose to both the Celtics and Heat over the last two seasons, it was unlikely that Knicks fans would be cheering on the winner of the Boston-Miami Eastern Conference Finals matchup.
With even more bitterness and disdain for LeBron James following "The Decision," just about every Knicks fan will be jumping on the Oklahoma City Thunder bandwagon during The Finals. In what's sure to be a classic superstar matchup, James and Kevin Durant will lead the way for their respective teams as each player seeks out his first NBA title.
After performing at quite the historical level during the Conference Finals, it's obvious James is in the zone. After failing to lead the Cavaliers to a title on his own in 2007, the current NBA M.V.P. received even more criticism when he and his star-studded teammates couldn't work together to bring home the bacon to Miami last season either.
But now the 27 year old James appears more focused and determined than ever. In an even stronger attempt to prove the doubters wrong, he's carried the Heat on his back. James is clearly out to silence the critics with the ultimate goal not only simply in mind, but more in reach than ever before.
The only problem is that a player as fierce as Durant stands in his' way. In fact, with a supporting cast that includes Russell Westbrook, James Harden, and five-time NBA champion Derek Fisher, the Thunder may in fact represent an even tougher matchup for the Heat than teams like the Spurs, Lakers, or Mavericks would have.
James will certainly have his hands full trying to contain Durant, whom he actually worked out with in Akron during the NBA lockout. The same can be said for Dwyane Wade, who will likely be asked to guard Westbrook throughout the series. What's more, James and Wade will be forced to get creative offensively, as both players enjoy penetrating to the basket. If either player wants to duplicate some of the success they've experienced in the postseason thus far, they will have to evade the Thunder's intimidating defensive frontline of Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins.
Both still 23 years old, it's not common for a dynamic duo as young as Durant and Westbrook to be leading their squad to the NBA Finals. Though they've taken the league by storm, emerging as two of the best players in the league, first time may not be the charm for this young squad. On the flip side, the Heat has obviously endured the bumps and bruises most developing teams experience. Perhaps this year is finally their year to rise above, whereas for the Thunder, it's simply the first taste of what will be a longer journey to ultimately taking home the title.
Whether or not the Thunder are truly ready to emerge as NBA Champions on their first attempt remains to be seen. Nevertheless, Knicks fans all around will be rooting for the young guns to deliver an upset, prolonging the suffering James and his teammates have endured over the last two seasons.
Though most Knicks fans may not want to hear it, there may be one small reason to hope for a Heat title victory: to be able to witness what's sure to be an electrifying and exuberant Ronny Turiaf celebration.
Thursday, June 7, 2012
Members of the Knicks have been forced to watch at home as the NBA's top teams make valiant efforts towards making it to the NBA Finals.
The league's final four teams--the Thunder, Celtics, Heat, and the Spurs (who were eliminated from contention last night) all have strong teams from A to Z. Of course, each team is led by multiple stars, but they also have specialty players as well. An array of defensive specialists, sharpshooters, and bruisers fill out each contender's roster, making it possible for them all to have such long-lasting runs.
As the Knicks aim to better themselves and make a stronger run towards contention, there's no doubt they should be looking at each of these teams to draw some inspiration. Obviously, New York is led by two stars in Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire (whether or not they can truly co-exist on the court will continue to be explored during the pair's first full 82-game regular season later this Fall), and their elevated defensive effort is paced by anchor Tyson Chandler.
Despite his own recent struggles, Stoudemire has been correct in asserting that the Knicks' "Big Three," collectively, ranks amongst the best in the league. But building a championship contender obviously does not end there.
Looking at the rest of the roster, Knicks fans should be content enough with Jeremy Lin. Though the negatives to the young stud include not knowing exactly how high or low his ceiling for success is (following such a short stint as starting point guard), Lin not only displayed immense potential, but also seemed to have continuity and strong chemistry with his teammates.
With so much offensive firepower already on the roster, the most important thing for a Knicks' floor general is that he fit with the personnel. Though Lin showed the ability to fill it up offensively during "Linsanity," he won't need to perform at such a high level with everyone else healthy. The Harvard product will likely succeed most by using his array of different skills, keeping the defense off balance by having good court vision, and opting to drive to the basket when no one appears open.
Given his mass marketing appeal both in the Big Apple as well as internationally, the Knicks will probably opt to bring Lin back this summer. Making sure the rest of the roster is filled out becomes more tricky. Bench production is obviously crucial, especially considering the huge boost the team received whenever "Mobb Deep" came alive. J.R. Smith has the ability to heat up offensively and never look back, and Steve Novak's sweet stroke from downtown spaces the floor like not many others can.
Though they both experienced difficulty in the postseason, their impact on the Knicks' overall success is undeniable. Newsday is reporting Smith's return next season is becoming more and more likely, whether he opts in to his contract, or opts out simply to sign a new pact for more money instead. Novak's fate on the Knicks rests in the hands of an arbitrator who will soon make a ruling as to whether or not players like Novak and Lin should retain their Bird Rights after being claimed off waivers.
Should the arbitrator rule in favor of the players (who obviously want to retain the Bird Rights), the Knicks will have a much easier time retaining all of Novak, Lin, and even Smith, while still being able to explore additional free agent options as well.
Going deeper down the bench, New York would be smart to invest in a veteran playmaker too. Baron Davis certainly had his ups and down this season, but due to his knee injury that will keep him out the entire upcoming season, he is not up for consideration. Given the failed Toney Douglas experiment (and the already present scoring production off the pine), it's imperative the Knicks seek out someone who get pace the second unit by getting his teammates involved. Derek Fisher, who is making his eighth career trip to the NBA Finals this postseason, and Ramon Sessions, who has thrived in a key role for the Lakers, both stand to be strong candidates New York should pursue this summer.
The Knicks obviously have some nice young talent and a couple of key veterans (like Mike Bibby and Jared Jeffries, who could both return for veteran minimum contracts) who will help balance out the roster too. Building on mostly in house talent, the team appears pretty set towards making a stronger run next season. But there is still one glaring issue I've omitted thus far...who will start for the Knicks at shooting guard next season?
Though he first emerged as a member of "Mobb Deep," Iman Shumpert's defensive prowess propelled him into the starting lineup for much of his rookie year. His explosiveness and athletic ability helped him leapfrog Landry Fields at the two guard position as the season came to a close.
Fields has served as a key in the Knicks' engine for the past two seasons, putting in effort on both sides of the floor, playing intelligent defense and pounding the glass to grab rebounds. His glowing chemistry on the hardwood with Lin doesn't hurt either. Both Shumpert and Fields have their strengths, but it will be Fields who will likely be the Knicks starting two guard when the 2012-13 begins. Shumpert will likely still be rehabbing from his knee injury, and isn't expected back until about a month into the season.
Even so, who's to say Shumpert won't be a little rusty out the gate? Can the Knicks instill so much faith in Fields next season, after he struggled to build up consistency in the recent months? Between Shumpert's injury and Fields' journey to find the success he experienced as a rookie, the Knicks might be better off luring in an outside option while both young players continue to come into their own.
Enter 37 year old-to be Ray Allen. Should the Players Union win their arbitration hearing and the Knicks seamlessly retain Lin and Novak, the team's Mid-Level Exception will be readily available. If they chose to forgo using the exception on a veteran point guard (and instead lure one in for the vet's minimum, ala Davis), New York could focus on their most glaring other need at shooting guard. The ironic thing is that neither Shumpert or Fields display a sharp shooting touch. On the other hand, Allen is arguably the best shooter in NBA history, and though he's aging, still sank 45% of his shots from downtown (the highest percentage of his career) through 46 games this season.
Allen would help spread the floor for the Knicks' offensive stars who enjoy posting up and/or penetrating, and his veteran presence wouldn't hurt either. Given the MLE is available, a two-year contract worth $8-10 million wouldn't be unreasonable in the least.
The Knicks have a very strong core already in place, but as this past postseason showed, a little tweaking certainly won't hurt. It's important to keep all key players intact, but the team should look to use all of its possible resources to not only make improvements simply skill-wise, but also to put as much depth in place as possible to withstand any type of adversity. As we've seen in this year's playoffs, the top contending teams truly have no holes.
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Though the rumors of Phil Jackson returning to New York to coach have ceased with Mike Woodson formally signing a contract extension, that hasn't stopped Jackson's name from being attached to the other notable open positions in the NBA.
The Orlando Magic were clearly frustrated by the fallout between Dwight Howard and former coach Stan Van Gundy, as well as the team's inability to leap to the next level. Looking to further themselves as much as possible from the era of Van Gundy and former G.M. Otis Smith, the team is targeting of the league's most accomplished winners in Jackson.
But no, there aren't any plans for the eleven-time title winner as coach (and two as a player with the Knicks) to return to the bench. Instead, Sports Illustrated is reporting the Magic are coveting Jackson for a front office role.
In fact, former Bobcats coach Sam Vincent (who also played for Jackson while a member of the Bulls) is proposing an arrangement in which he and Jackson would join the team's front office, while Pacers assistant Brian Shaw would join the fold as new Magic head coach. Scottie Pippen would sit on the bench with Shaw as his top assistant.
The Magic are desperate to hold onto Dwight Howard, who reportedly already regrets opting in to his contract for next season. Apparently they believe bringing in a winning persona such as Jackson will begin to convince the big man to stay longterm.
While the idea certainly looks good on paper and may indeed be a good start, would such a move make as much sense? Jackson has a reputation for managing and work well with bigger egos, but he's only done so on the hardwood. Who's to say he'll be equally effective in the front office?
The Magic are looking for a General Manager to help turn the team's fortunes around, but the only terms that are being tossed around in association with Jackson's name seem to be a "front office role" or an "advisory role." What's more, because Jackson desires to work remotely from Los Angeles, the Magic are reportedly requiring he spend one week per month in Orlando while also making six community appearances each month as well.
If the team is truly committed to changing the culture and resuming winning ways, the Magic are going to need a dedicated individual working the phones in an attempt to make worthwhile changes. Can Jackson be as involved while being so far away from team headquarters? Between the time requirements and community appearances, the move appears to be more of a spectacle than anything else.
If that's what it takes to keep Howard, then so be it. Bringing in Jackson (in whatever capacity both sides see fit) may be worth coughing up the money it takes to do so. But the General Manager slot would ultimately still need to be filled, whether the Magic formally name a second person the G.M., or simply hire someone else to do the work behind the scenes while Jackson acts as the figurehead. What's more, are the other commitments worth while? It's unknown what Vincent would bring to the front office, and both Shaw and Pippen would be unproven in the roles that they stand to step into.
All these commitments are arguably risky in their each individual way, and could prove to bite the Magic in the butt, should Howard end up ultimately leaving the franchise regardless. Should it all be enough, however, retaining Howard and bringing in all the mentioned personnel (all hungry for success, whether the motivation be a chance to come back, redemption, or the opportunity to prove themselves) may pave the way for some positive things ahead in Orlando.
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
While NBA powerhouses like the Heat, Celtics, Thunder, and the Spurs continue to fight it out for the chance to compete for and potentially take home an NBA title, teams like the Knicks have already begun to settle into the offseason as they watch from home.
Though the first order of business for the Knicks this offseason won't officially begin to take place until NBA Draft Day, the hearing on whether or not players like Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak will retain their "Bird Rights" takes place next week.
Otherwise, fans are somewhat left in the dark as members of the team look to (rightfully so) enjoy their time off. But as our good friend Seth Rosenthal notes, you can often get the inside scoop as to what the Knicks are up to by following Social Media.
In any event, let's take a look at what some Knicks teammates have been up to thus far.
Though many of the players have opted to retreat home, J.R. Smith has continued to spend much of his time in the Big Apple. In addition to checking out the Summer Jam concert and engaging some fans with late-night bike-rides, the swingman has also returned to MSG (sitting next to a Knicks' fan-favorite) to watch the New York Liberty of the WNBA play. Word has it he's also played ball in the heart of Brooklyn with former Nuggets teammate Gary Forbes.
Injured guard Iman Shumpert has also spent some time in New York, splitting his time between here and his hometown of Chicago. He's been working hard at taking the first steps of his rehab process and has been looking for apartments back home. He returns to New York City this week for a promotional appearance at the Lord & Taylor on Fifth Ave this Thursday night (June 7th) alongside NFL star and New York Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks.
Star players Amar'e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, and Tyson Chandler all attended the Met Gala earlier this month with their significant others. A avid traveler, STAT ventured to Puerto Rico with kids before going to Paris where he proposed to Alexis Welsh, the mother of his three kids. She said yes!
In addition to recently celebrating his birthday alongside music stars Swizz Beatz and DJ Clue, Carmelo Anthony took part in Jeep's "Power by Design" event in the city yesterday to help promote the brand and USA Basketball. Knicks great and current Assistant General Manager Allan Houston also took part as both engaged with fans throughout the day. Anthony talked about up being coached once again by Mike D'Antoni, who is an assistant on Team USA.
While Smith, Shumpert, and the team's three big stars have been staying pretty busy, it appears as though Landry Fields has been quietly enjoying his time home in California. Note to self, though; never watch a movie alongside Landry....
That's all for now. If you happen to think any of the Knickerbockers are up to something neat over the course of the offseason, hit us up on Twitter @KnicksJournal to let us know!
Saturday, June 2, 2012
Though they still trail 2-1 in their Eastern Conference Finals matchup with the Heat, the Celtics appear to be wearing Miami down as they continue to claw their way back into the series.
In what appears to be the last stand for the team's Big Three (Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen), the ever aging group has been paced by the efforts of Rajon Rondo.
The point guard carried the Celtics on his back during game 2, almost helping them secure a victory all on his own with a historic 44 point, 10 assist, and 8 rebound performance. Though they had to wait until game 3 to come away with a win, Rondo still helped propel his team in the right direction with 21 points and 10 assists.
In the summer of 2007, Boston looked to change the fortunes of the franchise by pairing Paul Pierce up with the two of the best veteran players in the league. The trio has helped the team compete on the highest level and the biggest stage for five seasons, even bringing home an NBA title. It's been one of the best runs in recent NBA history, but with each veteran beginning to lose some of their luster, it appears up to Rondo to officially begin to lead this team as his own.
With the Knicks led by one of the most prolific scorers in the entire league in Carmelo Anthony, and the 76ers having found a receipt for success by building a balanced attack of strong young guns and veteran role players, it's safe to say the competition in the Atlantic Division is steep.
Rondo has emerged as one of the league's best point guards because of his ability to elevate the play of each of his teammates. He's a savvy and intelligent playmaker who knows how and where to find players in the right spots at all times. He's the perfect and ideal definition of a floor general. While his stellar play and success is undeniable, becoming a great point may come easy for someone playing with three of the best offensive weapons ever to play the game of basketball.
So what happens when you begin to take some (if not all) of those weapons away from the arsenal? With Boston beginning to favor Avery Bradley over Allen, it's becoming more and more likely the sharpshooter signs with another contending team in the off-season. Depending on what the market for him is, it's also possible free agent to be Garnett won't be retained either.
Should Allen and Garnett exit Beantown this summer, is Rondo a strong enough player to stand aside Pierce to begin leading the new generation of Celtics? To date, the point guard has been criticized for his lack of a consistent jump shot. Flat and erratic, Rondo's shot is clearly not one of his strengths. Despite this, he's been able to thrive alongside the different talent around him. Without them, his flaws may instead come front and center.
Over the past year, Rondo's name has been mentioned in potential trade scenarios for the likes of Chris Paul and Pau Gasol. While a Rondo for Paul swap obviously never came to fruition, it may be smart for Boston to look into trading the star guard while his value is at its highest. As miraculous as his playoff heroics have been, they don't change the type of player he's become over the last few seasons; a spectacular playmaker and a strong defender. But that's where it stops. Creating his own offense (this season's playoffs aside) has been a weakness of his as he's developed. He may not be able to be depended on in such a role in which he'd have to cash in on offensive opportunities for himself.
Rondo is a special player, but without Allen and Garnett, Boston may no longer be the perfect fit. They're going to need some offensive firepower, and he's going to need strong weapons around him in order to play at his best. The Celtics need a new franchise player to emerge, whereas it appears Rondo needs just as special players around him to shine.
After this season concludes, a divorce of sorts may benefit both sides. This would allow Boston to find the right talent to pace them as they retool, while also allowing Rondo to find a new wealth of talent to elevate and succeed with. Because after this season, neither Rondo or the Celtics will be able to give one another what they need most.