Blog Entry

Weekly Post-Ups (UPDATE)

Posted on: December 21, 2009 9:04 pm
Edited on: December 21, 2009 11:46 pm
When do you throw the ball into the post to a 5-9 guard? What do Nate Robinson and Stephon Marbury have in common? You’ve come to the right place, the Weekly Post-Ups:

Robinson is the diminutive, insanely popular Knicks guard who is short no matter how you look at him, but perhaps more popular than he should be based on his role as one of the few people worth cheering in Madison Square Garden in recent years. You know the story: Nate hasn’t budged from Mike D’Antoni’s bench in nine games, and the Knicks are 6-3. It appears that the Knicks City Dancers are assured of logging more minutes than N8 the Gr8 for the foreseeable future. D’Antoni, you will recall, did the same thing to Marbury last season, refusing to play the former All-Star. But the similarities end there. This decision was basketball-related; the Knicks simply play better without Robinson, which comes as no surprise to those who understand how Robinson’s folk-hero, slam-dunk champ persona are much better for the box office than they are for the pick-and-roll. Marbury – that was a whole different case, a story for another day.

Now that Robinson’s agent, Aaron Goodwin, has publicly requested a trade, Robinson’s days in New York are numbered – even though Nate says he wants to remain a Knick. (Read that: He wants to remain a Knicks and play for them, too.) It’s only a matter of the exit strategy: trade, buyout, or 55 more uncomfortable games with Robinson sitting on the bench doing nothing. Goodwin and Walsh spoke on the phone Monday, and it is believed that Goodwin made clear that option three is not an acceptable option.

The scenarios are severely complicated by the fact that Robinson, on a one-year, $4 million deal he signed as a restricted free agent last summer, has veto power over any trade. Trade scenarios are further muddled by the fact that Robinson is a base-year compensation player, meaning the Knicks would be forced to take back about half as much as Robinson’s $4 million salary in a trade – unless he’s packaged in a bigger deal. In this economy, the list of teams willing to take back double the salary they send out in a trade that yields them somebody else’s problem is exceedingly short.

This begs the question: Why did the Knicks give Robinson a $4 million deal to begin with, when all they were required to do under the collective bargaining agreement was tender him a $2.9 million qualifying offer? Perhaps team president Donnie Walsh was trying to be fair to Robinson and give him more than the qualifier, as he did with David Lee. But the Knicks are on the hook for double the difference due to the luxury tax, and now they have an unhappy $4 million player who needs to be either bought out or traded. By the end of December, Robinson will have already pocketed $1.33 million. If he gets a buyout – a tactic Walsh historically has been against – the standard formula is 80 percent of the balance. Expect Walsh to drive a much harder bargain than that if Robinson wants his freedom. There was a time not so long ago when buyouts were a way of life at the Garden. But given Walsh’s aversion to them, he’s likely to view that as a last resort.

One Western Conference executive said the market for Robinson is virtually non-existent, and that even teams with a need for bench scoring are concerned about Robinson's downside -- i.e., he shoots too much, dribbles too much, and hasn't learned to take the game seriously. “The value of Nate Robinson is that his contract expires,” the executive said. “It’s not that teams are saying we need to pick him up.” Not surprising; once a situations gets contentious like Robinson’s, trading partners sense weakness.

The Knicks’ dream scenario? Package Robinson as part of a bigger deal that also includes Eddy Curry and Jared Jeffries. But again, who’s lining up to take the Knicks’ problems, not to mention contracts that extend beyond 2010? So short of a buyout, which Walsh likely will only agree to once he’s patiently exhausted every other scenario, what’s the end game? There isn’t one. The former slam dunk champion’s escape from New York is no slam dunk. It’ll take some time -- a lot longer than it will take me to post the rest of this week's Post-Ups:

* A person familiar with the Bulls’ situation said the team appears to be “close to wit’s end” with coach Vinny Del Negro, but is in no hurry to make a decision. There’s no upside to dumping Del Negro this early and installing top assistant Bernie Bickerstaff to the interim post for the rest of the season. The players would see that as a surrender flag. Instead, the person said, GM Gar Forman and advisor John Paxson would rather get into January and have a better sense of whether there’s a chance the team could find a spark, as it did for its playoff run last season. If there’s no progress with a more extensive body of work, that’s when a move is likely to come.

UPDATE: It will be exceedingly difficult for the Bulls to stick to that plan after Del Negro's team blew a 35-point third-quarter lead and lost to the Kings 102-98 Monday night. The surrender flag alluded to above? The one that my source indicated the players would see if Del Negro were canned prematurely? That flag, evidently, already is flying. The Bulls were outscored 54-17 over the final 16 minutes. Seriously. The Bulls have lost 14 of 20 under Del Negro and head to New York for the second night of a back-to-back Tuesday night -- having played only seven players in a game they led by 35 points. Del Negro's horizon just went from January to Christmas.

* Don’t be surprised if some teams lacking the cap space to sign a max free agent next summer decide on a pre-emptive strike before the trade deadline, essentially making their big acquisition now as opposed to waiting. One such team could be Sacramento, which entered Monday night’s game in Chicago with a surprising 12-14 record. The Kings have Kenny Thomas’ coveted expiring contract, which they had every intention of keeping until it fell off the books July 1. But with the team only two games off the pace for the eighth spot in the West, GM Geoff Petrie might be willing to move Thomas, who makes $8.6 million, if a deal presented itself that would give the team a better chance at making the postseason. It’s too early to get a read on Petrie’s attitude toward such things, partly because Sacramento has benefited from one of the easiest schedules in the league thus far.

* With Jameer Nelson returning for the Magic Monday night after missing a month with a left knee injury, it’s worth floating my theory that only Dwight Howard is more important to the Magic’s title hopes than Nelson. No disrespect to Rafer Alston, but the Finals would’ve been far more competitive with a healthy Nelson running the point all the way through. At his best, Nelson is better than what the Lakers and Cavs have to offer at point guard, and it can be argued that only Boston’s Rajon Rondo and Denver’s Chauncey Billups among the truly elite teams would have a difference-making advantage over Nelson. (If Dallas or Phoenix make it to the NBA Finals, I reserve the right to update this post.) Like a true point guard, Nelson was one of the first people to call Vince Carter when the news broke that he’d been traded from the Nets to Orlando. “He knows how to make this engine go,” Carter said. “He’s very underrated.”

* With Don Nelson back on the Golden State bench after a bout with pneumonia, word is that Monta Ellis will let the New Year come and go before re-evaluating his future. Nelson and Ellis were seriously at odds early in the season, at one point engaging in a heated exchange after a practice in New York. Things settled down just in time for Nelson to go on a five-game sick leave, with assistant Keith Smart taking over on an interim basis. The Warriors were 2-3 under Smart, and are 1-8 since Nelson returned – which really isn’t the point. Ellis has emerged this season as Golden State’s best player, and as the Warriors get into the teeth of the 82-game schedule, it will have to be decided whether he can co-exist with Nelson. A person with knowledge of the situation said Ellis is inclined to let the holidays come and go before plotting his next move. One thing is certain: Ellis has logged at least 47 minutes on seven occasions for the injury-ravaged Warriors, a trend that has people close to Ellis concerned. Six of those occasions came with Nelson on the bench, as did three other 46-minute outings.
Category: NBA

Since: Apr 10, 2007
Posted on: December 22, 2009 8:27 pm

Weekly Post-Ups (UPDATE)

Thanks Ken.  I hope Gary is able to join the discussion.  My former colleague on the sports desk at TV Guide, Mr. Roger Leister, reports that the Kings-Bulls all-time series was also tied 74-74 after last night's thriller, courtesy of , only updated through last season.  Some past encounters played in Omaha, Las Cruces, Cleveland and Evansville.

Since: Jun 10, 2009
Posted on: December 22, 2009 1:21 pm

Warriors and Bulls

I have a list of my most dissapointing teams in the NBA so far this season. The Bulls are tops on my list. The Warriors are 3rd right behind the Wizards. In my opinion all three of these teams need to make moves. All three of these teams have the talent to be at least in the playoff hunt in thier respective conferences. None of them are close.

The Bulls - Have Derrick Rose and besides that i think they are looking to move whoever they can with the exception of mabye Noah. Tyrus Thomas and Kirk Hinrich are two of thier players who might could bring some value in a trade. Loul Deng is the Bulls best player right now. I know theyd like to hold on to Deng but if a big name PF (Bosh, Boozer, Randolph, Jamison) come available via trade it's tough to see Chicago being able to hold on to Deng.

The Warriors - The Warriors traded thier best player (IMO) in Stephen Jackson. Now it seems they may wanna move thier new best player Monta Ellis. Anthony Randolph also is a player they might look to trade since it seems he might never reach elite status in GS. In my opinion Golden State need to rebuild. Keep Randolph and Stephen Curry. Get Rid of everybody else. Ellis will be the first to go. I said they should trade him to Washington for Antwan Jamison but who knows what the Warriors will do. Mabye fire thier coach??

Washington - I picked Washington to finish fourth in the east this year. Looks like i was way off on that one. The Wiz return thier big three all of whom appear to be healthy (sometimes) and Brendan Haywood. Mike Miller is out but they have had noone step up to really help them get consistant and start winning. I say that it's time to break up the big three. I dunno if they could move Arenas but i know if Monta Ellis comes available they should have some intrest. Butler and Haywood will probably stay put. Antwan Jamison is a guy a lot of teams could use including the other two teams on this list. I would like to see the Cavs try to make a move to bring him in this season for an added boost. I think Jamison is better than thier other option which is try to trade for Al Harrington. The Wiz could mabye get Mo Williams and big z's contract for Jamison. A fair trade imo 

Since: Mar 28, 2008
Posted on: December 22, 2009 7:44 am

Weekly Post-Ups (UPDATE)

I agree with Pirateball. Gary?

Since: Dec 8, 2006
Posted on: December 21, 2009 10:46 pm

Weekly Post-Ups

Looks like the biggest comeback in Kings history took place tonight in Chicago.  They were down 24 at the half and as much as 35 in the 3rd quarter but Sacramento outscored the Bulls 33-10 in the final period to steal one at United Center and leave the home crowd stunned on their way to the exits.  Not sure if this is the biggest comeback dating back to the Rochester and Cincinnati Royals' days and into the Kansas City and K.C.-Omaha Kings days, but even if it's just in their Sacramento history, this is an amazing night for the guys in purple and black.  As broadcaster Jerry Reynolds said on the wrap-up, "I've been on all the rides at the county fair, but I ain't never been on one like this!" 

Tyreke Evans (23pts-8reb-3ast) stole the show in the stretch run of the game against his fellow one-year and out Memphis Tiger Derrick Rose (24p-3r-7a).

Since: Apr 10, 2007
Posted on: December 21, 2009 10:12 pm

Weekly Post-Ups

Here's my post-up as I watch the Kings at Bulls on the true magic that is NBA League Pass here in Philadelphia on DirecTV and as I dream that ; so, I can see 29 basketball teams, 29 baseball teams and 29 hockey teams on the respective sports packages but no 76ers, Phillies or Flyers.  Bah Humbag, Brian Roberts enjoy your last-place primetime network and soaring Olympic-broadcast rights payments.

Anyway, back to my point.  And maybe this is also a good question for your colleague Mr. Gary Parrish considering his place of residence.  I think that true Memphian basketball fans tonight are more interested in watching Tyreke Evans and Derrick Rose play in the Sacramento at Chicago game than they are in any game involving the Grizzlies.  Agree or Disagree?

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or