Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Got To Love the Knicks
By Ben Valentine

You know, sometimes the best thing about being a Nets fan is that I’m not a Knicks fan.

I know right now, somewhere down on Wall Street, one Keith Sabalja is celebrating the Knicks acquisition of Eddy Curry. But Keith is one of those fans who supports any move his team makes, even if it’s trading the organization’s most promising young player in years for a guy who could literally drop dead at any time.

As the deal stands right now, the Knicks would acquire Curry and Antonio Davis for Michael Sweetney, Tim Thomas and Jermaine Jackson. The Bulls would also receive a conditional first round pick from the Knicks, two second round selections and "the option to exchange picks at a later draft". Nobody is doubting Curry’s ability. He averaged 16.1 points a game last year. Talent wise, is he superior to Sweetney or Thomas? Yes. Sweetney only averaged 8.4 points per game and 5.4 rebounds last year. However it was just in 19.6 minutes. In a starting role, he could easily do more.

This is the age of the salary cap. Curry’s heart condition is potentially life threatening. He might have to retire at any time. Sweetney is the Knicks most tradable commodity, while Thomas and his expiring contract is the second most. They receive a talented player, but one who will be paid a ton of uninsured money. Much like my Nets back with Alonzo Mourning two years ago, the Knicks will not be able to get any insurance money on a player who clearly has a dangerous condition. Should Curry go down, the NBA will most likely not give them an injury exception for the same reason. The Knicks will be deeper in cap hell than they are now and have nothing to show for it.

It’s risk reward here people. In the Nets case, it was money and a relatively small amount of cap space. In the Knicks case, it’s money, talent and probably a lot more cap space. Curry hasn’t agreed to a deal yet, but one has to assume it will be more than what the Bulls were willing to give him. It also has to be more lucrative than the 50 year, 400,000 dollar offer Bulls GM John Paxton made to Curry if he submitted to a DNA test for his condition.

So again, we come down the same question. Risk/ reward. With Curry, Davis, Jerome James and Channing Frye are the Knicks the best team in the East?
Nope. How about the best front court?

Sorry. Wait, how about in the Atlantic? Forget that too.

Give me Nenad Krstic and Marc Jackson any day of the week over James and Curry. There’s a fairly good chance both will out produce the Knicks rotation for substantially less money and a hell of a lot less risk.

But then with the Knicks, it’s all about names. And with Larry Brown, Stephon Marbury, Quentin Richardson and Eddy Curry, they’ve got a lot of them. Of course that will be a real reassurance to them as they struggle to get the eighth seed in the East yet again this season.


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