Tag:Knicks
Posted on: September 4, 2009 4:39 pm
 

Knicks, Lee to huddle next week

Knicks president Donnie Walsh and the agent for restricted free agent David Lee plan to speak after Labor Day, and both sides are hopeful they can resolve the power forward's contract stalemate before the team reports to training camp at the end of the month.

Don't read too much into reports elsewhere that Walsh and agent Mark Bartelstein are on the verge of agreeing on a one-year deal that would make Lee an unrestricted free agent next summer. That's clearly where this is going, but nothing has changed on the Lee front for at least a month, Bartelstein said Friday. As we've reported here previously, Walsh and Bartelstein both recognize that a one-year deal is the only possible outcome here if a sign-and-trade or long-term deal can't be consummated. (Well, Lee sitting out the entire season is another possible outcome, but let's not be ignorant.) Anyway, Bartelstein said Friday that he and Walsh haven't even exchanged contract figures on a one-year deal yet. And based on Bartelstein's comments, that aspect of the negotiation could be somewhat time-consuming.

"If we can't do a sign-and-trade, we'll come up with a deal that pays David for one year based upon who he is as a player and based on comparables and playing for the minimum for four years and being their best player," Bartelstein said. "(Walsh) wants to do the right thing for someone who clearly deserves a long-term deal, but the organization has clearly decided not to do a long-term deal."

In short, don't waste any of your Labor Day weekend contemplating the significance of Lee being a Knick next season. For a restricted free agent faced with a marketplace featuring only three teams with significant cap space -- and with his own team hoarding cap space for next summer -- that has, for weeks, been the only way this was going to end.

Category: NBA
Posted on: August 21, 2009 1:15 pm
Edited on: August 21, 2009 4:17 pm
 

Iverson gives play-by-play of his own demise

When Allen Iverson entered the NBA in 1996, people wore beepers. Seriously, Twitter Nation, to communicate with someone, here's what you did in 1996: You called their beeper number, listened for the beeps, punched in your phone number, and waited. Sometimes they'd call you back, sometimes they wouldn't.

It was slightly more effective than smoke signals, or rotary dialing.

Which brings us to the technical innovation of 2009 and how Iverson is using it to offer play-by-play of his own demise.

Iverson, a certain Hall of Famer coming off a $20 million-a-year salary who can't find an NBA job, has been waxing poetic about his comeback via Twitter updates. We call it a comeback because, well, Iverson does -- and also because he was for all intents and purposes retired down the stretch of a miserable stint with the Pistons last year. A proud 10-time All-Star, Iverson couldn't stomach coming off the bench for Michael Curry, who became only the latest coach to get fired after coaching A.I. Iverson went so far as to say that he'd retire for real before coming off another team's bench. But what he really couldn't stomach was the decline of his game. He's 34, his body has absorbed incalculable mileage, and he can't do the one thing he's always done better than anybody else -- get to the basket and score, by any means necessary.

Neil Paine of Basketball-reference.com analyzed Iverson's statistical decline and was spot-on in concluding that one of the problems is that while A.I. can still get to the basket, he's finishing with a lower percentage than he used to. That's what happens to players like Iverson when they get old; they don't fade away, they flame out like a comet.

I don't want to get too much into Iverson's sudden Twitter fetish. You can read the updates yourself. But the tone and volume of updates picked up noticeably this week, with A.I. saying that his "people" are telling him that he's "close to a deal." That was Wednesday morning. Still no deal.

Iverson also has floated the teams with whom he's apparently close to signing. "Waiting for the call," he wrote. "Charlotte, Miami, NY." Iverson, who has thrived off negative energy from his doubters since the moment he was drafted, also wrote, "If you think I am just going away, think again! ... I have heard all of the doubters, but they should know that I will not be broken."

Bobcats coach Larry Brown said this week that he'd gladly coach Iverson again, but didn't want to insult him with an offer that probably would be somewhere between the minimum and the mid-level exception. Miami? Why? As for the Knicks, we told you three weeks ago on this site that the Knicks had "zero" interest in Iverson. That remains true. Just ask the dozen media outlets that wrote it again this week.

Before you brand me an Iverson hater, think again (as A.I. would say). I've known him and covered him since his rookie year. I haven't liked everything he's done, but I've always liked him and enjoyed watching his career. For me, Iverson and Kobe have been my favorite post-Jordan players to watch. So if you're looking for A.I. bashing, or if you want to read someone who's hoping Iverson fails in his attempt to revive his suddenly dormant career, you've come to the wrong place.

I hope he succeeds. I hope he winds up somewhere that's a good fit, on a team that he can help. Some people are ready for the smiling, sanitized stars of the new NBA to take over and leave Iverson's rough public image and his innovative/frustrating/selfish game in the past. Not me. 

But in all the Twitter updates, amid all the bravado, I don't see the one line that Iverson needs to write. I don't see him stating that he'd accept a bench role, that he'd be willing to do what he could've done in Detroit -- which is allow his scoring gifts to impact the game as a reserve. If Iverson would say that, he might actually be getting some interest from teams other than the bottom-feeders whose intentions are really about the lowest common denominator: signing Iverson to sell tickets as opposed to signing him to improve their team.

I don't know how many more Twitter updates we'll see before Iverson signs somewhere. Maybe I'll page him and ask.



 



 
Posted on: August 7, 2009 3:17 pm
 

The LeBron-o-thon continues

LeBron James is often criticized for sitting on the fence when it comes to his intentions for 2010, when he currently has the ability to opt out of his contract and test the unrestricted free agent market. But there was no mistaking LBJ's position on Friday, when he said unequivocally that he will not sign an extension with Cleveland this summer in order to preserve that flexibility.

"I signed a contract in 2006 with an option," James said at an event in his native Akron, Ohio. "It would make no sense for me to sign that contract if I didn't keep my options open. I'll let you fill in the blanks."

So there you go. No filling in necessary.

No extension. The drama lives for another year. The LeBron-o-thon continues.

I can't blame LeBron, nor can I say I'm surprised. He will still have the ability to sign an extension with the Cavs after the 2009-10 season -- and before July 1, 2010 -- that would lock him in under the current salary scale and rules before the CBA takes an expected turn in favor of the owners in 2011. His best option financially, under the current collective bargaining agreement, is to re-sign with Cleveland or participate in a sign and trade because either scenario would get him a sixth year and bigger annual raises after the first year.

But given that we've already crunched the numbers and determined that LeBron, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh -- who have identical contracts -- would be leaving between $2.7 million and $5.2 million on the table over the next four years by foregoing an extension, LeBron's own words tell you everything you need to know about his intentions.

His words don't reveal whether he's staying or going. But they do tell you without a sliver of doubt that waiting to see how close he is to a championship in Cleveland is far more important to him than a few million dollars.

Cavs fans, I'm sorry to inform you that your King is going to hold court with your collective hearts for another year. That means another year of rampant speculation, attempted mind-reading, and hype.

Oh, and guess who visits Madison Square Garden in the first week of the 2009-10 regular season? His Highness faces the Knicks on Nov. 6.





Posted on: August 3, 2009 5:45 pm
 

Knicks, Lee still at impasse

David Lee's existence in the NBA's purgatory known as restricted free agency has entered its second month, and negotiations with the Knicks are "nowhere new," the power forward's agent, Mark Bartelstein, said Monday.

The Knicks are "open minded" and "willing to listen," said Bartelstein, who continues to seek sign-and-trade possibilities that are severely limited by the dearth of teams with cap space and Lee's status as a base-year compensation player -- which makes it more difficult to match salaries in a trade. Running out of options, Bartelstein and Knicks president Donnie Walsh have begun talking in general terms about a one-year deal that would make Lee an unrestricted free agent next summer, when at least half the league's teams will have significant salary cap room.

"There's a possibility a one-year deal could happen," Bartelstein said. "We're not ruling anything out. If it’s a one-year deal, we’ll try to get a one-year deal that compensates him for who he is."

Lee's situation is holding up some of the remaining player movement at the back end of the free-agent process. Comparable players like the Celtics' Glen "Big Baby" Davis (also a restricted free agent), Tyrus Thomas (eligible for an extension with the Bulls), and Aaron Gray (who is expected to re-sign with Chicago) have been waiting to see what happens with Lee before proceeding. So have their respective teams. The Celtics, meanwhile, struck pre-emptively Monday by agreeing to terms on a one-year, minimum salary deal with free agent forward Shelden Williams.

The Knicks, determined to hold onto precious 2010 cap space, also are in negotiations with Bucks restricted free agent Ramon Sessions. But a person familiar with those talks said they reached an impasse over the weekend -- although the line of communication remains open. The Knicks and Sessions' camp exchanged proposals on Friday and again Monday, without coming to terms on an offer sheet.

The Knicks have until Thursday to negotiate exclusively with ex-Clipper Jason Williams, who has decided to end his retirement. By claiming Williams on waivers, the Knicks acquired the Clippers' exclusive negotiating rights. But a person with direct knowledge of the Knicks' plans said they intend to trade Williams if they can reach agreement with him on a contract. Since they acquired his rights by claiming him on waivers, the Knicks wouldn't have to wait the customary three months to trade him. It's a risk-free way to acquire another minor asset without incurring any cost. This is a significant change in approach for the Knicks, who have spent the past decade or so acquiring minor assets at extraordinary cost.




Posted on: July 31, 2009 10:41 am
Edited on: July 31, 2009 3:48 pm
 

Knicks pursue Sessions; get rights to J-Will

Ramon Sessions is expecting offer sheets from the Knicks and Clippers, with New York the favorite to land the Bucks' restricted free agent.

Sessions' agent, Chubby Wells, has exchanged proposals with both teams over the past few days and anticipates closing the deal with one of them as early as Friday. The Bucks, who already gave up their rights to restricted free agent Charlie Villanueva earlier this summer, are not expected to match the offer sheet, according to a person familiar with their thinking.

UPDATE: Before getting involved with Sessions, the Knicks are focusing on Jason Williams and have been granted an exclusive, five-day window to negotiate a deal with the unretired point guard, Yahoo! Sports reported. Williams, 33, must navigate a minefield of beaurocracy after filing retirement papers last September, only a month after signing a one-year deal with the Clippers. L.A. relinquished its exclusive rights to negotiate with Williams last week. Any team wanting to acquire those rights would have to claim Williams off waivers first.
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Hakim Warrick, whose qualifying offer was withdrawn by Memphis as a precursor to moving him in a sign-and-trade or clearing his $6 million cap hold by rescinding his rights, has agreed to a one-year deal with the Bucks, according to NBA front office sources. The Cavs and Sixers also were in pursuit of Warrick, a 6-9 forward who averaged 11.6 points and 5.0 rebounds for Memphis last season. Milwaukee's decision to draft point guard Brandon Jennings with the 10th overall pick also signaled to rival executives that the Bucks would be unlikely to match offer sheets for Sessions. The Cavs, meanwhile, have made a contract offer to Celtics free agent Leon Powe, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, which says Powe is ahead of schedule in his recovery from reconstructive knee surgery.
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Another consideration for the Knicks reportedly is Allen Iverson, 34, who would accept a one-year deal at the $5.9 million mid-level exception, thus preserving precious cap space for next summer. Sessions, 23, would require a multi-year offer sheet, but is younger and less risky than Iverson. But a person with direct knowledge of the Knicks' plans squashed any notion of A.I. coming to New York with the following description of the Knicks' interest in the future Hall of Famer: "Zero."





Posted on: July 24, 2009 5:28 pm
 

Miller, Blazers finalizing deal

After failing in their pursuit of free agents Hedo Turkoglu and Paul Millsap, the Portland Trail Blazers are closing in on point guard Andre Miller.

Miller, 33, is on the verge of agreeing to a two-year deal worth slightly more than the $5.9 million mid-level exception annually with a team option for a third year, a person with knowledge of the negotiations said.

The Sixers, whose youth movement Miller helped stabilize, decided early in the free-agent negotiating period that they were content to move forward with Lou Williams starting at point guard and first-round pick Jrue Holiday backing him up. Despite their emphasis on upgrading the point-guard position, the Blazers initially prioritized their pursuit of Turkoglu and Millsap -- in part because, like the Sixers, they were concerned about overpaying an aging point guard with a suspect shot. When Turkoglu reneged on a verbal agreement to sign with Portland and the Jazz matched the Blazers' offer sheet for Millsap, a restricted free agent, Portland officials circled back to Miller, who had also attracted interest from the Knicks on a short-term, cap-friendly deal.

Devoting a little more than $6 million in 2009-10 cap space to Miller leaves the Blazers with about $1-$3 million to spend this summer. The short-term deal also does not jeopardize Portland's plans to re-sign Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge to extensions as early as next summer.

With Miller off the board, the Knicks likely will turn their attention to Bucks restricted free agent Ramon Sessions. While it is accurate that the Bucks may not match a lucrative offer sheet for Sessions as they try to rein in payroll, the Knicks are not likely to make a prohibitive offer because they are determined to preserve precious 2010-11 cap space for their pursuit of LeBron James or another high-end free agent. The Bucks, however, appear ready to move on with first-round pick Brandon Jennings as their starting point guard.





Posted on: July 11, 2009 6:38 pm
 

Knicks receptive to Miller-Duhon trade

LAS VEGAS -- The Knicks are receptive to overtures from Andre Miller's agent to arrange a sign-and-trade that would swap the free-agent point guard for Chris Duhon, CBSSports.com has learned.

Miller's agent, Andy Miller, is pushing for a sign-and-trade to New York in response to the Sixers' lack of interest in bringing the 33-year-old point guard back. The Sixers have expressed a willingness to offer no more than a one-year deal at the $5.9 million mid-level exception. But a person with knowledge of the situation said Philadelphia was lukewarm about even that proposal. The Sixers' brass is ready to move on with Lou Williams at point guard and first-round pick Jrue Holiday backing him up.

The Knicks view Miller as an upgrade over Duhon, a person with knowledge of their plans said. But New York is not willing to go beyond two years on Miller's new contract.

Another team long rumored to have interest in Miller is Portland. But NBA front office sources say the Blazers are not actively pursuing Miller due to their concerns about his age and below-average perimeter shooting.
Posted on: July 10, 2009 3:59 pm
Edited on: July 10, 2009 4:54 pm
 

Hill back with Suns; expects Nash, Stoudemire

Grant Hill considered plenty of issues in deciding whether to re-sign with the Suns or accept offers from the Celtics or Knicks. Paramount among them is Hill's expectation that Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire will be joining him.

"It's important for Grant that Steve be there next year," Hill's agent, Lon Babby, said on a conference call Friday. "I know they have had conversations, so I think he’s quite confident that the team that’s coming back next year is going to be a highly, highly competitive team. And obviously, that would include Steve Nash."

As for Stoudemire, who has been discussed as a possible trade chip in discussions with Golden State that emerged on draft day, Babby said, "That's certainly a concern. I wouldn't say (Hill) has been given any assurances, but I think the expectation is that (Stoudemire) will be there bext year. He has opt-out after next season, but I don’t think there’s any reason to believe he’s not going to be there next year."

Nash, scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after next season, is in discussed with the Suns about an extension that would keep him in Phoenix.

Hill, 36, accepted a one-year deal with the Suns for $3 million with an option for a second year at $3.2 million, Babby said. The Knicks, who hosted Hill in New York earlier this week for a free-agent visit, offered a one-year deal at the full mid-level exception of $5.9 million. New York also offered a two-year deal with an option for the third, but it was not at the full mid-level for all three years. A longer deal with Phoenix also was discussed, but Hill preferred the 1-year deal with an option, Babby said.

Hill also met with Celtics coach Doc Rivers at least once, spoke numerous times with team president Danny Ainge, and also spoke with Ray Allen, who also is represented by Babby. Like the Knicks, Boston offered all it was able to under the rules, but the Celtics only had the bi-annual exception of about $2 million per year available.

"He thought long and hard about the alternatives," Babby said. "He did not come to this decision easily or lightly. Each of those three places had a lot to offer and very different things to offer. That’s what made it challenging."
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com