Being a Knicks fan requires a very high tolerance for stupidity and frustration. Today is a prime example of that. Former Raptors’ GM Glen Grunwald and the brain trust at Madison Square Garden have decided to prove that there is no contract in the NBA that is untradeable, no matter how terrible it is.
Therefore, they are sending Steve Novak (4yrs/15mil) and Marcus Camby (3yrs/13mil) to Toronto for the former #1 draft pick in 2006, Andrea Bargnani (2yrs/23mil).
Aside from Bargnani’s bad contract, injury history, not having played a full season since from 2009-2010, lack of rebounding, lack of defense, and lack of potential, this is a great deal for the Knicks!
We are trading two bad contracts for one horrendous contract, and we’re already above the luxury tax threshold; and because no Knicks trade is complete without giving up a couple of draft picks, we’re sending our 2016 first round pick and a couple second round picks to Canada as well, because who needs young talent when you can have mediocre Italians.
This trade strikes me as a panicky reaction to the Nets getting Garnett, Pierce, Terry and the hopes and dreams of all Celtic fans. The front office is trying to overcompensate in fear that Brooklyn will steal the spotlight away from the Knicks this coming season. Landing a seven-footer who is a proven scorer isn’t a bad move, but the Knicks are giving up far too much.
It’s good to shed Novak and Camby’s contracts, and Bargnani’s contract will come off the books in 2015, along with Chandler’s and Stoudemire’s, in time for a monster free agent class, but giving up all those draft picks is ridiculous.
Especially considering the Knicks have drafted well the past three years (I am a Hardaway Jr. believer). If and when this trade goes through, the Knicks will have a first round draft pick next season, and then they won’t draft again, in neither the first or second rounds, until 2017.
The Knicks are in an iirrational “win now” mindset, and that is what’s fueling this trade. The front office is trying to sustain a high-end roster for just another season or two based on the slim chance that everything might come together for one epic run at the championship, and that is a great sentiment and all, but the odds of it working are very small.
We are gambling that Bargnani will overcome his past two-injury plagued seasons to return to 2010-2011 form where he scored 21PPG and 5RPG. But that won’t happen because he will never be the number one scoring option on the court, and he will likely come off the bench for Stoudemire (at least until STAT gets injured again).
Speaking of Amar’e, don’t these two guys have strikingly similar skill sets? Big men who can be prolific scorers but cannot rebound or defend? Do we really need another Amar’e?
On the flip side, having two seven-footers in the paint can be useful. The Pacers and Spurs showed us the best way to slow down LeBron is to clog the paint, and Bargnani’s wiry European frame can certainly do that.
Alongside Chandler, he could also help in slowing down the likes of Joakim Noah and Roy Hibbert, and Woodson demands effort on defense, and if he could make J.R. Smith buy into that, then I’m sure he can help Bargnani. Speaking of J.R. Smith, this move indicates that the Knicks are increasingly uncertain that they will be able to resign the sixth man of the year.
Bargnani could be their insurance policy.
Overall, acquiring Bargnani makes sense, but not at this price. There is other, more affordable talent (Andray Blatche, Chris Kaman, Lamar Odom, Chris Andersen, J.J. Hickson) on the market that won’t force the Knicks to trade draft picks. Furthermore, this trade probably means the end of the Copeland era at the Garden, and it was only just getting started.
Somewhere, deep within the bowels of Madison Square Garden, Isiah Thomas (also former Raptor’s GM and Knicks roster saboteur) is crawling around, eating old crumpled up Steve Francis and Zach Randolph contracts, and waiting for his chance to overtake the Knicks front office once more.
Don’t let it come to that Grunwald, our tolerance for stupidity and frustration may be high, but that doesn’t mean we can’t overdose.
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