LeDecision 2010: Day 3 (Weekend) Analysis -Knicks Fans Should Be Afraid

UPDATED JULY 4, 2010 7:47am

Live’s Tenets of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and Free Agency 2010

1. The Collective Bargaining Agreement is designed to favor the team which desires to retain the services of its own player.

2. Free Agency under the CBA is an out of control auction forcing teams to overspend significantly  for free agents.

3. Teams building foundations with talented youth through the draft will have longer periods of success than those teams building foundations with older more established and costly players through free agency.

4. Players may unexpectedly opt out of the last year of their contracts in favor of longer deals to beat the expected adverse impact of the CBA struggle on players’ money next year.


UPDATE:  Knick fans are brimming with excitement as Knicks get second audience with James’ representatives to discuss Stoudemire potential.

Joe Johnson agrees to a six year, $119 million deal with the Atlanta Hawks.

David Lee had a “great” meeting in Minnesota with David Kahn.  Reportedly, for a deal to work with Minnesota it would need to involve a sign and trade which means that the Knicks could possibly get Al Jefferson in a trade.

I thought it sounded too easy to be true.  Studdy is not only meeting with the Knicks, but he has scheduled meetings with Chicago and New Jersey afterwards.  It would not make sense for him to agree to sign with the Knicks on Monday when the possibility of making the same or more money with a more competitive team exists. Amar’e claims that he can bring along Carmelo and Tony Parker, but he doesn’t have the power to void their present contracts.   Something just keeps telling me that the Knicks are being set up exactly the way we were last year by Grant Hill and Jason Kidd.

Furthermore, amongst his complimentary comments about the Knicks, Studdy made it clear that he stll wants to play with LeBron and not just in the context of New York.  Just as he talked about his legacy in Phoenix, bet on him considering his legacy as a champion.  He may be in New York, but I don’t believe he is in a NY Knick state of mind. Not yet.

Dirk Nowitzke is going back to Dallas as expected.

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Something’s not right.  I feel it in my bones.  It could be arthritis, but I don’t think so.  Let’s start with Dwyane and then deal a bit with Amar’e.

Wade’s request for a second  meeting with the Bulls to “clarify” issues is the move of a secret double agent –  a secret double free agent.  Wade’s manueverings, including the remote camera he is carrying into meetings,  feels like an episode of  “I Spy” or “Mission Impossible.”  In this episode ” Wade returns to enemy territory to sniff out the details of deals being offered by Chicago to Bosh and LeBron and himself.   His mission is to report back to his boss (Pat Riley of the MIA) so they can disrupt the plans of evil Chi-town Nation.  Instead, Wade has gone too far under deep cover and has been overcome with the Chicago-is-home Syndrome — kinda like the Stockholm syndrome — and he has become empathetic towards the enemy.  We can be sure that Riley is trying to take him out of deep cover for fear of losing him.

Bottom line:  I would not trust Wade if I was Chicago (or from Chicago).

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Well, we don’t “know” much and we won’t until the official announcements, but it appears our Knicks have moved on to plan B-C: Stoudemire and somebody else.   It is reported that Stoudemire is due into NewYork on Saturday but will not be meeting with the Knicks until Monday.  It’s too early to get excited just yet.  It is unlikely that Stoudemire will make a decision until it is clear where Bosh, LeBron and Wade are going.  If all three are going to the same spot, then Studdy should be ours, but if one of the big three FAs is without a side kick, expect a full court press on Stud-admire.  For example, if LeBron and Bosh go to Chicago, be assured that Pat Riley will try for Stoudemire or Boozer.   Also be assured that Miami can beat the Knicks’ deal by dealing directly with the Suns if Amar’e really wants to play for a contender and no all-star caliper FA will join him in Chicago.  Raymond Felton whould not be sufficient to convince Amar’e that the Knicks can be winners.

Studdy has a (non-bird rights) max offer supposedly on the table, but remember that the Suns have not yet renounced his rights and even if they did he could get more money from a team through a sign and trade which would allow the use of his Bird rights.  The Houston Rockets were reportedly lurking with an offer of Luis Scola, Shane Battier and possibly Trevor Ariza.  That is a deal that would work for the Suns who must be considering how they could get something in return for the player they drafted 9th in 2002. It is possibly a deal that would be attractive to Stoudemire especially since he made it clear previously that he wanted to play for a contender.  Perhaps he knows that he plays better next to a bona fide big and with a great pg setting him up.  He had also been critical of D’Antoni’s aversion to defense while going out of his way to praise the work of Alvin Gentry.  From this lens, the Knicks’ offer is a jump-off point for more money.  But, of course there must be competition for his services; New Jersey, Miami and Chicago have not revealed themselves publicly as of this writing.

Stoudemire could make more money and sign with a contender willing to pay it, if he agrees to sign and trade with the Suns who hold his Bird rights.  In that scenario, the Suns can offer him a longer contract (up to 7 years) than the Knicks can and with higher annual raises (12.5% compared to 10%). The Suns would then trade with a willing partner. It seems far too quiet to believe the Knicks are going to get by with an offer that far less than what Amar’e can earn unless another star is joining him.

In addition to a sign and trade involving players, the Suns have the option of a sign and trade involving the traded players exception.  Such a trade would allow the Suns to take back cap space from a team under the cap.  Instead of trading players of equal value, the Suns can gain cap space which would be used in subsequent acquisitions.  For example, Miami could use some of its cap space to acquire Stoudemire and pay him more than the Knicks.

Also remember that Studdy was willing to take a five year deal for less from the Suns, he just wanted it all guaranteed.

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Interestingly, while Knicks fans get excited, Suns fans seem to believe that Sarver’s offer to the forward was fair. Given that Stoudemire played all of his games last year, I am not sure it is a fair deal althought it was a smart offer not to fully guarantee the final two years.  For the Knicks, $100 million is a very hefty contract for a big that doesn’t have any assists and relys on a good pg to create

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Amare's Free Agency Map

This map of Studmuffin’s summer of free agency graces a great article at Bright Side of The Sun

 

So the Knicks have played their hand — hopefully they don’t get outmanuevered but some team, either the Nets, Knicks, Heat, Bulls or Cavs, is about to come away empty handed.  For the Knicks that would be embarrassing in the short term, but for the long-term that just might be the best thing that can happen instead of getting locked into another $17.2 – $20+ million per year for a player with no equal or better side kick.  Stoudemire can clearly be a nice piece to the puzzle, but do you want him to be your best player?

However, viewed more positively, the Knicks could be a team with the remaining $17 Million in cap room even if they don’t pick up another all-star caliber player.

 



 

Let’s Look At How Some Of The Teams Are Doing So Far.

 

Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers agreed to sign point guard Steve Blake, who played for the Blazers and Clippers last year, to a four-year, $16 million contract.  Good, savvy move for a solid back-up to Derek Fisher, assuming that Fish and Buss can come to an agreement to keep the 34-year old ringer — five-ringer. Compared to the Blake offer, Buss’ proposal of one year proposal to Fisher for $2.25 million was an insult.  But Fish knows Buss, so he probably won’t take it personally.   Purple and Gold and Don at With Malice like the Blake move a lot.  (Would Blake have been better for us than Raymond Felton??).  Note that the Laker’s still have part of their mid-level exception remaining.

So far the Lakers are having a good off-season with Phil Jackson agreeing to return and draft pick-ups of Brooklyn native, 6’8″ small forward Devin Ebanks (#43) and Derrick Caracter (#58) a New Jerseyan who attended the University of Texas El Paso.  Although Ebanks has grown close to Lamar Odom and Ron Artest there is no guarantee that he and Caracter will make this team, but Kupchak likes their youth and athleticism.  It is possible that with the addition of Blake that Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown may be on their way out.  Both players struggled during the playoffs but Shannon Brown has great athleticism.  If Farmar is cut loose, he might be a nice pick up for the Knicks who will need players.  The Lakers mmay also be considering a pick up of Mike Miller since they are concerned about the health of Luke Walton.

Phoenix Suns

The loss of Amare Soudemire must be a severe blow to the Suns in the short term, but it’s business.  Robert Sarver, who is considered a tough cookie, clearly has no problem cutting employees loose if they cannot come to an agreement.  Mike D’Antoni was bascially shown the door by Sarver when he refused to consider putting some defense into his mode of operation.  In Stoudemire’s case, Sarver was not willing to get locked into a $100 Million contract without some guarantee that Amare would be on the floor earning it and not on the bench dreaming about spending it.

It’s a tough loss for a team which many believe over-performed last year under Alvin Gentry, but it is hard to be overly critical given Amare’s history of knee and eye problems.  The other nagging issue is Amare’s work ethic when it comes to overcoming injuries and playing defense when he is not slated to be a free agent.  Obviously, he has an excellent work ethic or he would not be playing at such a high level, but there were cetainly concerns (as expressed in the book :07 Seconds Or Less by Jack MacCullum) that Amare didn’t work hard enough to rehab from his injuries.

The Suns’ agreements with Channing Frye (5 year, 30 Million) and Hakim Warrick (4 years, 18 Million) beg the Suns to renounce the rights to Stoudemire.  Frye became an integral part of the team as his mid-range sharpshooting abilities expanded to the tre-line.

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