- I don't know why, after weeks of damning articles and stupid quotes, this particular Marc Berman item rubbed me the wrong way, but here it is:
Point guard Chris Smith has become the D-League’s first $2 million player.
That’s the amount Smith, J.R. Smith’s brother, is costing the Knicks as their 15th man due to the punitive luxury-tax system under the new collective bargaining agreement.
No wonder Knicks owner James Dolan is in a grumpy mood.
The Knicks’ horrid luxury-tax situation — as reported in Saturday’s Post — was the chief reason the Knicks owner put the kibosh on signing a temporary big man in the wake of Tyson Chandler’s leg injury. They would have had to cut Smith to make room.
1. A quick reminder that Chris Smith is on the Knicks not because he is good at basketball, but because he is related to J.R. Smith, who the Knicks just signed to a multi-year contract.
2. Chris Smith is making minimum money just like anyone at the end of the roster would (though his guarantee is friendlier than most). The Knicks have to finish their roster with minimum contracts, and those minimum contracts cost the Knicks more than they pay the players because the Knicks are already over the luxury tax. But the minimum guys did not push the Knicks over the luxury tax. The guys making a lot of money pushed the Knicks over the luxury tax. If you're gonna grump, grump about signing those guys! Which you did! On purpose! If you keep a snapping turtle in your sock drawer, you don't get mad about the socks taking up too much space.
3. Hard to tell whether the above is Berman or Dolan misunderstanding the Knicks' predicament, but that's not the bad part. The bad part is the notion that Dolan shot down an opportunity to improve his team-- cutting Smith for a serviceable big man after Tyson Chandler's injury-- because of the luxury tax stuff. For all his other foibles, Dolan has always been spendthrift (except for that one time). Impatient, irrational, domineering, and inaccessible, but never reluctant to spend the Knicks out of an apparent hole. But now, when the Knicks could really use a small shift on the fringe of their roster, Dolan's unwilling to blow a few million dollars? That sucks. It's his money, the Knicks are his plaything, and he gets to do what he wants with both, but it sucks. And it doesn't check out after, say, agreeing to, say, add Andrea Bargnani's $23 million this summer. Shitty excuse, Jim.
The article does go on to say the Knicks will still consider cutting Smith (or Toure' Murry, which would be sad) to add Jeremy Tyler once he's healthy, but it's still a really bad look for the Knicks to be putting anything out there about limiting cost. At this point, that's absurd.
Now that I've farted about that particular article enough, here are a couple more directly basketball-related things to read:
- Chris Herring wrote something about how-- so far-- Andrea Bargnani has not helped Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks even when he's been playing well. And that's just on offense. This particular bit underscores what we've been discussing throughout these six games:
Numbers suggest Anthony's lack of spacing on Sunday was more pattern than coincidence. Of the 96 NBA players who have taken at least 10 shots a game this season, Anthony—unguarded on just 20% of his catch-and-shoot jump shots—has been left open the least frequently. By contrast, Bargnani—left unguarded on 63.6% of his jumpers—has been open the most frequently, according to the statistics service Synergy Sports.
Read on to see how statistics bear out what many of us have noticed-- Melo plays best with multiple floor-spacers alongside him, and Bargnani hasn't been spacing the floor, nor has he done enough to punish defenders who leave him alone. It's early, though. Very early.
- Kenyon Martin stays fuming about his lack of minutes. He's played in all but one game (I think I said he'd played in all the games yesterday, but that's because the Spurs game no longer exists in my brain), but in sparse, short stints, and the artificial limitations are still irking him:
“That’s been y’all and Woody,’’ Martin said edgily of the platoon and minute-restriction guidelines. “I’ve told you all I’m fine. Every time you ask me, I’ll give you the same answer, I’m fine — whatever the minutes is.’’
Referring to Tyson Chandler’s broken leg, Martin snapped: “Tyson wasn’t there but I was available. Tyson couldn’t play.
“It was difficult for me to watch any game from the bench, not just a loss. I want to play. I’m a competitor, man. It’s all about winning. It’s all about the team. [But] I want to play.’’
There will be a basketball game tonight against the Hawks. Hopefully, it will save us from this post-Spurs-game funk. As some of you have mentioned, it always sucks when there are multiple days off after a truly terrible loss.