Like a lot of you, including Seth, I've gone back and forth a lot on weather the Knicks should match Landry's offer sheet. Mostly because I love Landry and my god that's a stupid contract. Ultimately I've come down on the side of not matching.
It's tough because like I said, I love Landry. I love having a nice group of young guys going forward (which he'd make sure we'd have 3 to pair with Papa and our 2013 first rounder instead of just Shump and Lin). Love that he's friends with everybody and is always making goofy jokes.
I love when he has a very Landry game (something like 12 pts, 7 rebounds, 3 assists). I love his every once in a while highlight plays where he comes out of nowhere for a put-back. I love his rebounding.
But it's not enough. I don't have to tell you how terribly he shot the ball last year. And not just from 3, but from the freaking FT line. They're Free! You're supposed to take them! It wasn't just confidence, he did something to his shot. I want to believe he'll get his shot back, but how much am I willing to bet on it. Worse, I don't think he hit a single rhythm shot all year.
His handle and passing were atrocious last year. Every game he seemed to cost us 1 to 3 possessions with passes that are all competing for the worst pass I've ever seen.
If you're a shooting guard who can't shoot, you had better be able to play D, and Landry's was subpar. I was actually impressed with his improvement on D from year one to year two, but it still wasn't good enough. He can guard middling 2s or 3s, but against better competition, like perhaps the most athletic players in the game, he's completely lost. We might as well have had a cardboard cutout trying to stop Wade.
Which brings me to his worst flaw - his worst games always came against Miami and Boston. He just disappears against those teams.
Now, that that's all laid out, let's talk money. When I first heard the numbers on the offer sheet my first thought was, "The Knicks better not match that." But as our cap situation became clearer, I moved into the camp of, "Why not? We're just wasting Dolan's money. Yea, Landry's not worth it, but it's only costing Dolan and maybe by spending so much on players like Landry he'll run out of money and have to sell the Knicks." One can always dream.
Here's the problem with that latter line of thinking, it doesn't just cost Dolan. Money-wise it does, but it costs the team in terms of a roster spot. This all became clear to me when I found out Ronnie Brewer was a possibility. Now, Ronnie Brewer's not a great player, but he can do what Landry does and he's better at defense. Why go with Landry, when we can have a better version of him?
Really what it comes down to for me is the Miami-Boston thing. We're going to have to face one or both of those teams in the playoffs and we can't have a guy getting serious minutes on our team if he can't even compete with them.
When I have the thought that I'd rather have Bill Walker (who always seemed to be oddly competent against those teams - he's like the anti-Landry), you know the fight is over. I'm no Bill Walker fan. He's super athletic and seems like a nice dude, but he seems to make every mental mistake imaginable. I was furious with him and tired of him giving up And 1s every single game. But going forward he'd actually be more valuable to us than Landry Fields and I'm pretty sure he can be had for the minimum.
I love Landry and I'm gonna miss him like the dickens, but if we're serious about going for a championship then he has no place on this team because that road goes through Boston and Miami. We can afford to give him that much of James Dolan's money. We can't afford to give him those minutes.