NEW YORK – The Knicks will have an update on Baron Davis later Monday, but it’s very safe to assume that Davis will not play again this season after suffering a dislocated patella in the third quarter of Sunday’s Game 4 at Madison Square Garden.
So now would be a great time for international sensation Jeremy Lin to return to action. Lin has been running up and down the floor in 3-on-3 games at the Knicks practice facility, and would be doing the same Monday and Tuesday before the Knicks travel to Miami for Game 5 on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET, TNT). But Knicks coach Mike Woodsontempered expectations in a conference call with reporters Monday morning.
“I’m not counting Jeremy Lin playing,” Woodson said. “We’ve just got to continue where we’ve been, in terms of guys that are in uniform. And I’m not counting on him to play.”
Lin had surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his left knee on Monday, April 2. At that time, the Knicks said he’d be out six weeks. And right now, we’re at the five-week mark. And as he did with Amar’e Stoudemire for Game 4, Woodson made it clear that the decision on Lin is out of his hands.
“I think it’s going to be up to the doctors and Jeremy to make that decision,” he said. “It won’t be my decision.”
Jeremy Lin is down for the count and who knows when/if Amar’e Stoudemire will return to action. That means what’s left of the Knicks’ roster will have to carry New York for the duration. While the Knicks are still battling for the last playoff slot, they also have their sights set on the No. 6 seed in order to play Orlando in the opening round instead of either Miami or Chicago. And on the heels of last week’s trampling of the Magic, a repeat performance would not only greatly enhance the achievement of both of these goals, but also make Orlando shiver in anticipation of encountering New York in the money season. After their fourth-quarter meltdown in Indiana on Tuesday, the Knicks also has to prove that they do have a necessary killer instinct.
On the flip side, the Magic need the win to demonstrate that their humiliating performance in New York was a fluke, and that they are indeed legitimate championship contenders.
HOW THE KNICKS CAN WIN
Forget about LeBron, Kobe and/or Kevin Durant — Carmelo Anthony is the most versatile scorer in the game. If KD is a better long-distant dialer, Anthony’s 3-point shooting is more reliable than the other two elite scorers. The difference is ‘Melo’s dynamic post-up game. With Stoudemire out, Anthony is now filling the power forward slot, which makes his offense even more unstoppable (plus he’s a better rebounder than his predecessor). There’s certainly no way that either Hedo Turkoglu, Ryan Anderson (if he makes a miraculous recovery from a freshly sprained ankle), or Glen Davis can put up any meaningful defensive resistance without considerable help. The problem is the Knicks’ spacing forces defenders to come a long way to double Anthony. And should Anthony bring his A-game into the last period, the Magic will run out of tricks.
Assuming that Dwight Howard has recuperated from the infamous phantom punch, Tyson Chandler has the length and the defensive chops to make him labor mightily to score in the low post. In addition, Howard gets flustered when he’s doubled on the move and tends to force shots, make wayward passes, or simply commit turnovers. Chandler’s timely dive-cuts on high screen/rolls should also put him in dunk city. (more…)
If you’re anything like me, you’ve been watching so much basketball that you almost feel guilty about all the time spent on the couch. But don’t beat yourselves up basketball fans, because we waited five months for this, through a late start and even near cancellation. So ignore the cold shoulders, the honey do’s, and even the cat calls, because you’re an NBA fan, and this is what we do.
I know a lot of you are pretty bummed out about all these DNPs, but get used to them — and their unpredictable nature. I’m a big believer in the law of percentages, what goes around comes around, and all that jazz, so don’t sweat it if you’ve lost a game or two due to excessive DNPs. You have to trust that these random events will even out over time.
The powers that be at NBA.com wanted me to look ahead on the waiver wire for you, which is a great idea because a) it’s the quickest and easiest way to improve your team, b) the waiver wire has never been more important with all these injuries, and c) working the waiver wire is a personal specialty of mine. So let’s get started…
Zach Randolph’s knee injury caused the Grizzlies’ front office to trade for Speights, who had 17 points and seven rebounds in 29 minutes Sunday against the Lakers. The numbers are pretty good, but what’s impressive to me is that he did it in his second game with his new team.
You have seen the spike in production from Marc Gasol and that trend will continue until 20-10 gets healthy enough to play, roughly two months from now. And when you combine the absence of 20-10 with Darrell Arthur’s season-ending injury, the door is wide open for Speights to play starters’ minutes and rack up the goodies.
While I’m not a fan of his game in reality (too many bad passes and too much complaining), I am a fan of his fantasy numbers when he’s rolling — and right now Matt Barnes is rolling. In the last two games he has 31 points, 16 rebounds, seven assists, three blocks, three steals, and two 3s, making him viable in any fantasy format.
Barnes was a disappointment for the Lakers last season, largely because of a lingering knee injury. But he’s healthy and making plays in Mike Brown’s non-triangular system. Barnes is probably still on waivers in your league, but he won’t be for long if he keeps playing like this.
The reigning College Player of the Year is being dropped by impatient owners two weeks into the season. This is a mistake.
The dude can ball, he just needs minutes — and those minutes could come under new coach Keith Smart, who ran a guard-friendly offense in Golden State last year. Smart has played Jimmer only 37 minutes in his first two games as head coach, but coaches change their minds — and their rotations — all the time.
Jimmer is the perfect stash player because he has plenty of upside in assists and threes, typically the two toughest categories to find on waivers.
Douglas is being dropped like sippy cups at a birthday party. Fantasy owners are turning their backs on Douglas because of Iman Shumpert’s emergence, and the fact that Douglas was scoreless in 18 minutes over his last two games. Douglas has been dealing with a shoulder injury though, so don’t give up on him just yet.
In fact, check him out tonight on NBA TV and be ready to pounce if he gets back to bringing the MSG crowd to its feet. Douglas is a great source for threes and steals, so keep your eye on his minutes.
Allen posted back-to-back 20-point games leading into Sunday’s tilt with the Lakers, but he crashed back to earth with four points and four fouls in 13 minutes. That was to be expected, though, as Allen is charged with guarding the opposition’s top wing player — and Sunday it was future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant.
Lionel Hollins is using a committee approach in trying to make due without Zach, and Allen is a big part of that committee. The Grizzlies’ junkyard dog is probably still on waivers in your league, but you need to add him to your scout team and stay ready. One more 20-point game and Allen won’t be on waivers for long.
Terms of the deal with New York were not immediately available. It likewise remains to be seen how soon Davis will actually be able to play for the Knicks thanks to a back injury that the Cavaliers, upon releasing him, believed would sideline the former All-Star for 8-to-10 weeks.
The Knicks, though, chased Davis aggressively in spite of the injury, desperate to upgrade their backcourt to support the frontcourt duo of Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire that was recently boosted by the arrival of Tyson Chandler to be the Knicks’ defensive anchor.
The Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat also expressed strong interest in signing Davis, who was waived Wednesday night by the Cavs.
It’s a low-risk move by the Knicks, who are currently starting the erratic Toney Douglas at point guard. Davis’ health is (and will always be) a question mark. But both the Clippers and Cavaliers were much better offensively when he was in the game last season.
Team numbers with Davis on and off floor
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions
* = Before trade
** = After trade
GREENBURGH, NY – The New York Knicks played pretty well without Chauncey Billups and Amar’e Stoudemire in the second half of Tuesday’s Game 2 in Boston. And the numbers show that the Knicks have played much better when they’ve had just one of their stars on the court than when they’ve had two or three.
But, of course, Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni would prefer that Stoudemire and/or Billups are healthy for Friday’s Game 3 at Madison Square Garden (7 p.m. ET, ESPN).
The Knicks practiced without Stoudemire or Billups on Thursday. Billups received treatment on his strained left knee at the Knicks’ practice facility, but Stoudemire was getting treatment at his home in Manhattan, so that he didn’t have to travel an hour each way in the car and possibly aggravate the pulled muscle in his back.
D’Antoni is clearly more optimistic about the chances that Stoudemire will play Friday, but the team will have to wait until at least Friday morning to see how Stoudemire feels.
Billups had blood drained from his knee and took a cortisone shot on Wednesday.
“At this point, I know there’s no way I can come back and be 100 percent,” Billups said. “But I don’t have to be 100 to come back. I just want to be able to help the team and not hurt the team. If I can get to that point, then I’ll be out there.”
BOSTON – The New York Knicks will likely be without Chauncey Billups for Game 2 of their first round series with the Boston Celtics on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET, TNT).
After suffering a strained left knee late in the fourth quarter of the Celtics’ 87-85 victory in Game 1 on Sunday, Billups is officially listed as “questionable” for Game 2. And the way both Billups and Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni talked about it, a status of “doubtful” may be more appropriate.
D’Antoni said that Billups playing in Friday’s Game 3 in New York was “more of a probability.”
“I think everything is up in the air, day-to-day,” Billups added after the Knicks practiced without him on Monday. “I’m hoping for tomorrow. I don’t know if that will happen. I don’t even know if it’s realistic. But obviously, if it’s not tomorrow, I’m hoping for the next opportunity.”
If Billups can’t go, Toney Douglas will start in his place and Anthony Carter will see more playing time backing Douglas up. Douglas started in place of Billups in a six-game stretch in early March, when Billups was sidelined with a thigh bruise. The Knicks went 4-2 in those games, giving D’Antoni some confidence that they could survive without Billups on Tuesday.
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Too bad the Trail Blazers didn’t continue the St. Patrick’s Day theme by sporting green uniforms. That would have meant all three winning teams from last night rocked the green.
The “MVP” chants occur in every arena now, including Thursday night in Prudential Center as the Bulls beat the Nets 84-73. If they eventually become reality, Derrick Rose will supplant Wes Unseld as the youngest most valuable player in NBA history.
Rose, 22, also will become the first player to win the award in his third season since Moses Malone in 1978-79. Michael Jordan won his first after his fourth season in 1987-88. (more…)
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – We’re trying very hard to separate fact from fiction where Amar’e Stoudemire and the surging New York Knicks are concerned.
Do we blindly celebrate the fact that Stoudemire is on a personal tear (five straight games of 30-plus points for the first time in his career) and just ignore the combined 64 wins of the Knicks’ victims on their current streak, during which they’ve won 10 of 11 games?
And keep in mind that 13 of those wins belong to the New Orleans Hornets, the only team with a winning record the Knicks have defeated during this current stretch (tonight’s opponent, Toronto, is 8-13).
We don’t know how much stock to put in Stoudemire and the Knicks’ performance and how much of this needs to be colored by the level of competition. It’s pretty obvious they are connected. It’s the weight distribution that we’re struggling with right now.
A Monday morning Tweet suggested that we’ve been ignoring Stoudemire’s “MVP-worthy” performance and asked what it would take for us to get on the bandwagon.
Stoudemire doesn’t have to do any campaigning. We’re all in. (If you remember, this was Stoudemire headquarters at the trade deadline last season, when he — and not Antawn Jamsion — was the key to the Cavaliers’ championship puzzle). His 25.3 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.9 blocks are on par with his previous MVP-worthy season, when he went for 25.2 points, 9.1 rebounds, 2.1 blocks and 1.5 assists in Phoenix during the 2007-08 season.
When Allan Houston talks about him like this (when the team was just 11-9) …
“To me, he has had as much impact on this franchise as Patrick [Ewing],” Houston said. “The timing, the circumstances, his personality and demeanor, leadership, all wrapped up — given his talent — is the impact Patrick had when he came.
“What he’s done is brought in a presence: ‘I’ll take the burden on my shoulders. I’ll take the criticism. I’ll take the good with the bad. I’m going to be the one — if people put it on me, I’m OK with that.’ “
According to multiple reports, the New York Knicks are close to agreement with Amar’e Stoudemire on a five-year deal worth $99.7 million. And in one of the latest plot twists in LeBron-a-thon 2010, my friend Chris Broussard of ESPNtweeted the following this morning:
NYK’s plan to have Amare and next yr Carmelo has intrigued LeBron. Not saying NYK is frontrunner (they’re not) but they’re gaining ground
Amar’e Stoudemire, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony would be an awesome triumvirate, but is it possible to put them all in Knicks uniforms? Probably not.
First, in order for it to happen this summer, the Knicks would require the cooperation of the Nuggets. As much as Stoudemire way want to bring Anthony to New York, there’s no avoiding that Anthony is currently under contract with the Denver Nuggets. And Broussard has reported that the Nuggets aren’t trading their star.
So back to the scenario of signing Anthony next summer, when he can opt out of the final year of his current contract and become an unrestricted free agent.
First, we have to realize that there’s a great unknown in figuring out what could happen next summer: the new collective bargaining agreement. No one knows what the rules regarding the salary cap and max contracts will be a year from now.
For now, let’s just assume that the rules remain the same and that the cap number doesn’t fluctuate from the $56.1 million number we have this summer (which isn’t actually set until Wednesday).
Here’s a look at what the Knicks would have on the books for the 2011-12 season, assuming they sign James this summer and everyone else they sign is given just a one-year deal…
8 Minimum cap holds
If the cap was again around $56 million, the Knicks would have about $11 million left in cap space. And assuming (again) that the CBA is the same as it is now, a max deal for Anthony would start at $18.0 million. So even if the Knicks were to send Gallinari and Douglas to Denver in a sign-and-trade (or to some other team able to absorb their contracts), they wouldn’t have enough space to sign Anthony to a max deal.
Looking at it simpler: James ($17.9 million) + Stoudemire ($18.6 million) + Anthony ($18.0 million) + Nine cap holds ($4.3 million) = $58.7 million
Take away those pesky cap holds and it might work. But it’s doubtful that they’ll go away in the next CBA.
Of course, the next CBA might reduce max salaries to the point that Anthony can only make $12 or $15 million in the first year of his new deal. In that case, he would fit under a $56 million cap. But the next CBA might also lower the cap itself.
At this point, it’s all speculation. But it’s far from certain that the Knicks, thanks to Curry’s expiring deal, can add Anthony next summer. If that’s the plan, it’s a risky one.