Knicks turn to experienced hand at rebuilding to turn fortunes around
Nor should anyone think that the Knicks traded away half of their roster solely to clear space for the summer.
Yes, obviously, financial flexibility is the biggest reason the Knicks sent
Guess whom they asked?
Their director of pro scouting,
"First off, this is Donnie's show. He deserves all the credit," Gabriel told SI.com. "Did they ask me about T-Mac? Yes -- and they also asked [Knicks VP of basketball operations]
These are the inner machinations and maneuvering in the NBA about which few people know, the unseen connections that result in countless phone calls with a variety of contacts throughout the league, relationships that go back through the years.
You want to know why it seems that the same old people keep getting recycled into jobs? Because when Walsh needs some critical information on a player like McGrady, he can ask Gabriel to make a few discreet inquiries, and just like that the information is at his fingertips.
Beyond his connections, Gabriel has been a veteran of the rebuilding process -- a large part of the reason Walsh hired him. Gabriel was the architect of the Magic's post-
True, it did not work out, but that had more to do with Hill's chronically injured ankle than it did with Gabriel's thought process. After he was fired in Orlando following a 21-win 2003-04, Gabriel was hired by Portland for its incineration of the Jail Blazers squad that was pieced together by
And here he is again, behind the scenes with the Knicks, who are attempting to erase the mistakes of
Gabriel sees hints of McGrady's prowess, evidenced by the 26 points McGrady hung on the Thunder in Saturday's overtime loss to Oklahoma City -- which is what Gabriel told Walsh.
"He is not the T-Mac of three or four years ago," Gabriel said, "but Tracy McGrady at 80 percent is still better than most of the rest of the league."
Which is why the Knicks are hoping McGrady debuts for them for a little more than two months, then re-signs over the summer. In large part because of the contract Gabriel gave him to leave Toronto and go to Orlando, McGrady has made enough money over the course of his career that the Knicks hope he is looking to be a part of something bigger, reviving his career at the same time the Knicks are reviving their organization. That, of course, means taking a significant pay cut. Like more than a $21 million pay cut from his $22.5 million salary.
But let's face it: McGrady has not earned a significant portion of that money and needs his reputation rehabilitated more than he actually needs money. Remember, this is a 13-year veteran who has never gotten his team out of the first round of the playoffs. He no longer is capable of carrying a team the way he did when the led the league in scoring in 2003 and '04. But imagine if he was the third cog in an overly talented wheel. Imagine if Wade could feed to Bosh in the post, who would kick out to McGrady on the wing for an open three-pointer.
Would that be enough talent overcome the Cavaliers if LeBron stays in the Midwest? Would that be enough to make McGrady forgo somebody's mid-level exception to thank Gabriel, the man who had enough of a vision to see McGrady for the star he was about to become back in 2001, and return to New York to complete the rebuilding process that never was accomplished in Orlando?
Both the Knicks and Gabriel hope so.
The day after the trade deadline, the Jazz seemed utterly distraught that their starting shooting guard,
"Losing Brewer was terrible,"
From the human perspective, that much is true. Particularly since his teammates did not really get to say goodbye to him. But from a basketball standpoint, which often is clouded in the minds of the players because of how close they are to teammates, the move was actually legitimate.
It was not a cost-cutting move as much as it was a move toward the future. The Jazz could eventually get a top-10 pick for Brewer, who is an average-at-best shooting guard. (Brewer, incidentally, injured his hamstring in his Memphis debut and is expected to miss at least a couple of weeks.)
Meanwhile, there were multiple reports that Utah was close to sending Boozer to Miami as the trade deadline approached, ostensibly to save money toward the luxury tax. But that is not entirely accurate. In fact, there are indications that Miami was telling people it was heavily pursuing Boozer to make Wade think that the Heat were trying their hardest to improve the team.
Think about it: Why would the Jazz make a move with Boozer? Whatever happened, they were going to have to take back players in a trade, so they still were going to be paying a luxury tax for less-talented players at a time that they are making a run toward the top of the standings.
Boozer's contract is up after the season, so they were not doing it to clear cap space. No, this looks like a case of corporate espionage. One wonders if Miami has designs on Boozer this summer, and when the Heat make their first call they can point to the trade deadline and say they were trying to get him almost five months ago.
A few weeks ago, the Warriors had so few players on their bench because of injuries that the organization may well have been wise to sell those seats in order to get premium prices in a down economy.
That has all changed after injured forward
So the Warriors have taken the step of requiring that all injured players must now reside on the bench for all home games -- a decision that required several players to fly in from out of town, where they were rehabbing.
"They are still getting paid. I sat them down and told them that that is the business side of basketball. But they are still getting paid to go out there and play. So go do your job."
Oklahoma City Thunder (3-0): It's amazing what can happen when a young team gets its confidence. This is where you see the Thunder, who have won nine consecutive games to move into the fifth seed in the West. What's more, they are starting to win close games, which is the next step in their maturation. If they can keep this squad together, the sky's the limit for them.
The official said, however, that unless KeyArena is redone, it would not make sense for the Kings to move because they would not make enough money to recoup their relocation fee.
Here's a thought: For the betterment of a league that clearly is having financial issues, why not waive the relocation fee? The only place that money is going is into the owners' pockets, a bribe, if you will, that paves the way for a smooth transition. There is nothing that says it can't be waived so that owners can be more financially solvent someplace else.
In the wake of the attempt by union leader
Stern said he has been negotiating contracts for almost 40 years and saw the union employing tactics from Negotiating 101.
"If I can get a little personal, as
"The lawyer was brought in to threaten us as a tactic to say ... the union is going to go away; that's going to make you bargain harder. The right adjectives were thrown around, and our proposal was appropriately denounced. Our response is you can denounce it, tear it up, you can burn it, you can jump up and down on it, as long as you understand that it reflects the financial realities of where we are."
I get the feeling things may get much uglier before any resolution is reached.
Speaking of which, I wonder how much it makes
At least the Nuggets redeemed themselves by beating the Celtics on Sunday afternoon in Denver.