Happy New Year's P&Ter's!
Not sure if all that holiday revelry took too much of a toll on my already questionable senses, but I'm entering this new year more confident than ever that this Knicks team is on the verge of something BIG. Unlike Osborn's well thought out Plan D, E, and F trade possibilities...this post is aimed straight at the Chis Paul Prophecy of a new Big 3 in NYC!
I think this would actually be 2 trades to make all the details work...but for simplicity you can see this as a single 4 team trade here - http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=38hufgm
This would be your new NY Knick's depth chart by position (with 3 new players in bold):
PG – CP3 / Ish Smith / DWTDD / Rautins
SG – Landryman / DWTDD / Walker / Mason
SF – Melo / Gallo / Landryman / Extra E
PF – Gallo / Amar'e / Melo
C – Amar'e / Turiaf
+3 – Roster openings for signing Vet minimum contracts
Take the jump to see how we get there...and why this might be a realistic scenario, and not just a Knicks pipe dream.
- Chris Paul (PG) - Ray "Smooth as" Felton (PG)
- Kelenna Azubuike (G-F)
- Timofey Mozgov (C)
- Eddy Curry (C)
- 2 x 2011 2nd rd. picks
- 2014 1st rd. pick
- Raymond Felton (PG) - Chris Paul (PG)
- Wilson Chandler (SF) - 2011 2nd rd. Pick
- Kelenna Azubuike (G-F)
- $3M (fr. NY)
- Timofey Mozgov (C) - 2011 1st rd. Pick (top 5 protected)
- 2011 2nd rd. Pick (fr. NY) - Ishmael Smith (PG)
- 2011 1st rd. Pick (fr. Houston) - Melo (F)
- 2 x 2011 2nd rd. picks (fr. NY&NO) - Al Harrington (F-C)
- 2014 1st rd. Pick (fr. NY)
- $3M (fr. NY)
- Jordan Hill (PF) or Terrence Williams (SF)
- Jarred Jeffries (F)
- Eddie Curry (C)
WHY THE KNICKS MAKE THIS TRADE
1st – If you have to ask…
2nd – In addition to the obvious, they get a true backup PG (and fellow demon deacon) to grab 10-12 min a game and keep CP3 fresh and healthy
3rd – While they’re outta cap space, could use another sharpshooter/defender, and really need help with size, rebounding and defense at Center+PF, they’ll have a biennial exception ($2M) and will be very attractive to savvy, older vet’s (e.g. Tony Battie) who will take a vet minimum contract to contend for a championship.
This trade shows no disrespect to Ray "Smooth as" Felton, or Chill Will Chandler. Both have proven themselves to be top young talents and borderline all-stars…but when you have a chance to acquire superstars, you have to be willing to give up very good players as part of the deal. While the Knicks current squad is young, talented and improving, it’s clear that some of the younger guys will take time to develop and it’s tough to imagine STAT and Ray-Ray continuing to play this hard without suffering some negative consequences.
The Knicks won’t get desperate/stupid to make this trade, because their Plan B - adding a strong interior presence to pair with Amare (e.g. Marc. Gasol), and a solid backup PG could also develop into a championship caliber squad if the young guns improve faster than the stars wear down…but that’s a big IF.
WHY NEW ORLEANS MAKES THIS TRADE
1st – Because the writing’s on the wall - They’ve seen Cleveland, Toronto, and Phoenix lose big by holding onto stars they couldn’t resign. With Melo holding strong on controlling his own destiny, they’re seeing the same script playing out in Denver. They hate to see CP3 go (who wouldn’t), but know the longer they wait the less they’ll get in return for their Superstar.
2nd – They may actually be a better team after this trade than before it. Hollinger predicts the Hornets would be 3 games better after this trade, which shouldn't be a big surprise since they're getting very good, young players at positions they need help in.
3rd – Money – Between the cash they’ll receive, the insurance payments on Azubuike’s contract and savings on paying Chandler and Felton vs. CP3, The Hornets stand to make about $6M this season on this deal. Real money, for a team that needs it.
4th Control – All 3 player contracts are reasonable and give good team control:
· Felton – three yr. contract with 3rd year being a team option
· Wil Chan – Restricted Free Agent, so the Hornets can’t lose him unless they refuse to pay market value.
· Azubuike – Team option for next year is reasonable if he returns to his pre-injury form, or declinable if he doesn’t
WHY HOUSTON MAKES THIS TRADE
1st - Because they get what they desperately need – Size, youth, athleticism and experience at the C and PF positions. Yao Ming may not be forgotten, but he’s absolutely gone. Houston just lost their current starting Center, Chuck Hayes, to a high ankle sprain. Chuck avg’s slightly less than 6pts and 6 reb’s a game…about what you’d expect from a 6’6" Center.
· Mozgov is a raw talent, but his work ethic, coordination and athleticism in a 7’2" 270lb body could be a powerful force once his fundamentals – hands and footwork – catch up to his physical talent. Yao and Brad Miller will both be good mentor’s for Mozzy, and Houston has experience helping fish out of water foreign players acclimate to their new home.
· Randolph is a similar story, with awesome physical talent (that he flashed with Golden State while setting records in summer league) and a solid work ethic (he’s put in 50 lbs of muscle since leaving LSU as a 175lb bean pole), but he’s only 21 and has never really had a stable team or coach or develop him into a strong role player. Physically he could be the next Marcus Camby…mentally he needs some good, patient coaching. Going to a team that’s physically and culturally closer to his roots and family in Texas and Louisiana could be a very good landing spot for him.
· Al Harrington is a solid, veteran stretch 4-5 that can help spread the floor with good 3point shooting range and will give them good flexibility to mix things up in the front court depending on matchups they’re facing.
2nd – They take on manageable contracts with significant upside while getting rid of Jeffries, who's expensive and no longer considered to have a future in Houston.
3rd – Their don’t give up anything that puts a real dent in their team
WHY DENVER MAKES THIS TRADE
Because they’re down to plan C, and this is the best they’ll get. If Melo won’t sign with Denver or Jersey, they’ll be hard pressed to get a better rebuilding package than:
· 4 Draft picks - 2 1st's + 2 2nd's, w/ 1 a likely lottery pick
· A young, recent lottery pick with potential in Jordan Hill or Terrence Williams
· Tremendous Flexibility and Cap Control
Yes this is a bit of an "oh shit" trade for them, but it's a heck of a lot better than what Cleveland, Toronto, or Phoenix got when they kept their stars past the trade deadline.
Unloading Harrington and Melo, means, they’ll have less than $10M in committed salaries for 2011 if Nene opt’s out of his contract. This may not put a smile on the faces of Nuggets fans, but for the team owner that actually OK's the trade it's not all bad. This year the Nuggets are paying $83M in salaries for a 7th place team that may not even make the playoffs. Starting next year they can rebuild quickly, thoroughly, and stay profitable by avoiding the long, bloated contracts that doom so many teams. It's not ideal, but it's a whole lot better than Cleveland or Detroit from an owner's viewpoint.
Many different ways to spin the details and teams involved in these trades, but I truly believe that if Chris Paul and Carmelo both really want to play together in NY that they have enough leverage, and NY has enough assets, to make it happen. So there's my take on how Donnie and the Knicks will engineer the fastest turn-around in NBA history...and why it's not impossible for the Knicks to contend for a ring this year.
Whether you think this is crazy or prophetic, it's always good to hear from the community on why this trade does or doesn't make sense for any of the teams or players involved, so thanks for taking the time to read and respond!