Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Just Another Sad Isiah Blasting Column
By Blogger

You should read the posts below on the Steve Francis trade before you read this one...



Done? Okay.

It's an awful trade. Penny was probably most valuable to the team as an expiring contract, and even if they'd traded him straight up for Francis, the Knicks would have lost because Stevie is signed for another three years at big money. Ariza was just saliva in the Knicks fan's other eye.

Some folks over at Knickerblogger have been trying to rationalize the trade by saying that the cap doesn't really mean much to the Knicks. The fact of the matter, though, is that, as a general principle, keeping costs down allows flexibility, both in the amount of money the team can give to premium players and in the team's ability to trade problem players. Under NBA rules, that flexibility is more important than it is in MLB and the NFL.

We can look to recent sports history to see where this story will end. For a while, the Potomac Drainage Basin Indigenous Persons signed every big name, big money, star they could in spite of what the football talent evaluators said, and the team sucked. The Baltimore Orioles did the same in baseball, and the team didn't quite suck in the early part of this decade, but they had no chance. Hell, let's look at what the Knicks have done post-Ewing: ouch. Spending money judiciously is the only way to win, whether you have a lot to spend or only a little. Even the Lakers, a big market team, made sure not to overpay for complementary players to Shaq and Kobe.

So, what does all of this mean? It means that Zeke just screwed up the Knicks' first step towards financial responsibility by trading Penny's large expiring contract. From a talent standpoint, he traded a useful frontcourt player with a future in the league for a shoot first point guard whose spiritual brother was already starting for the team, meaning Francis, somehow, is redundant.

In the NBA, you can't win a championship with players who make far more than they're worth. It simply isn't possible with only fifteen players on the roster. Look at Allan Houston. Look at Kevin Garnett (he of the $25 million salary). Rasheed Wallace made more than he was worth in the Pistons' championship season, but he was a midseason pickup, and his performance wasn't worth that much less than his salary. According to his BasketballReference page, he and the Pistons agreed to bring that number down so that's it's more in line with his value. The Knicks seem to be operating in an alternate universe in which the fans want to see stars who made their names elsewhere, when in reality the fans want to see a winning team, no matter who's on the floor. Hell, everyone knows that New Yorkers love guys in every sport who come to the city and grow up as players there.

So. Blow it up. Start anew. I'm not a Knicks fan, but I'm legitimately worried about the well-being of some of my friends. Right now, I think it's time NBA fans of thirty other teams put animosity aside and lend our collective shoulder for our New York brethren to cry upon. (Nets fans are allowed to laugh and point.)


Blogger Ben Valentine said...

Wait for it...


Now that as a Nets fan, I've gotten my laughter out, let me say that the Knicks are so destroyed cap wise it's pointless to try to blow it up David. They can't. There's simply no way the Knicks can trade away those contracts. Teams want expiring deals. The Knicks have none of those now. Marbury MIGHT be tradable because of his talent. But Crawford? James? Rose? (Malik and Jalen) forget it. The only way they could dump those contracts is if they surrendered draft picks, which they no longer have, or good players, like Channing Frye, but that defeats the purpose of rebuilding. The Knicks are doomed to be bad for at least two years. Then they can blow it up and start over.

11:14 PM  

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