Tag:New York Knicks
Posted on: January 31, 2009 1:41 pm

Knicks denied exception for Mobley

Knicks president Donnie Walsh told reporters Saturday that the NBA has denied the team's application for a disabled player exception on Cuttino Mobley, who was forced to retire because of a potentially life-threatening heart condition after the Knicks acquired him from the Clippers in a November trade sending Zach Randolph to L.A.

The expection, worth about $4.5 million, would've allowed the Knicks to sign or trade for a player making that much or less during the offseason. It wouldn't have been a factor at the Feb. 19 trade deadline because the 45-day deadline after the player's medical retirement had passed.

Walsh told reporters at the team's shootarond in Indianapolis that the league ruling came down late Friday night. The reason given was that Mobley's enlarged heart was determined to be a pre-existing condition. That explains why so many people close to the situation have denied since Mobley retired in early December that he had a clause in his current contract exempting his team from liability due to the condition. If such a clause existed, rejecting the disabled player exception would've been a slam dunk. Evidently, it was.

The Knicks were in no hurry to push the league for a ruling, which is why it took so long. Walsh didn't intend to use the exception this season, but it could have provided additional cap flexibilty this summer. The Knicks' only recourse now is to waive Mobley or trade his contract if they want to open up a roster spot.



Category: NBA
Posted on: January 26, 2009 11:30 am

Tragedy for Knicks' Eddy Curry

Police have a suspect in custody and were hoping to question him in the murder of Eddy Curry's former girlfriend and her 9-month-old daughter, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Curry's 3-year-old son with the woman witnessed the slayings in the Chicago home of the woman, Nova Henry.

The Times of Northwest Indiana had a story Monday morning refuting the published report that a suspect had been taken into custody in Michigan City, Ind.

This unspeakable tragedy comes on the heels of Curry being sued for sexual harassment by his former chauffeur, David Kuchinsky. Authorities have made no connection between the lawsuit and the murders. Nor has any connection been drawn to a July incident in which Curry was bound with duct tape and robbed at gunpoint in his suburban Chicago home.

This tragedy is simply unimaginable. The Knicks issued a statement on Curry's behalf. It isn't known whether Curry will be with the team Monday night for the Knicks' game against the Houston Rockets.

Category: NBA
Posted on: January 13, 2009 12:05 am
Edited on: January 13, 2009 1:21 am

Knicks' Curry hit with harassment suit (UPDATE)

I was about to include Eddy Curry on my list of the 10 players most likely to be traded by the Feb. 19 deadline. Look for the column Tuesday, but don't look for Curry's name in it. Not after he was hit with a sexual harassment lawsuit Monday in court papers that go into graphic detail about abuses Curry allegedly perpetrated against his former male driver.

The court papers and news story in the New York Post are so sensational and disturbing -- complete with allegations Curry solicited sexual favors from the driver and bombarded him with racial slurs -- that I'm not even comfortable linking to it. I'm sure you'll find the story if you want to. But suffice it to say that Curry now has more problems than playing only two minutes, 38 seconds all season because he was out of shape and dealing with a knee injury.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, also alleges that Curry threatened the driver, David Kuchinsky, with a loaded gun on at least two occasions. Curry's attorney, Kelly Saindon, denied all the allegations and told the Post they are "absolutely untrue." Leon Rose, Curry's agent, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday night. Curry, who was inactive for the Knicks' game in New Orleans Monday night, declined comment before the game.

Though the cases are entirely unrelated, parallels will be drawn between the allegations against Curry and the sexual harassment case brought by former executive Anucha Browne Sanders against Madison Square Garden in 2007. That lawsuit, which centered around the conduct of former Knicks coach and president Isiah Thomas, resulted in a guilty verdict. Browne Sanders received an $11.5 million settlement.

UPDATE: I can link you to the Curry stories in The New York Times and Newsday, because they have all the information without the lewd details and offensive language; the Newsday story has a lengthy, vigorous defense from Curry after the Knicks upset the Hornets 101-95 Monday night in New Orleans.


Posted on: January 8, 2009 6:43 pm

Delfino staying put; Pargo could be available

OREM, Utah -- With former Nets center Nenad Krstic bolting Russia and returning to the NBA with the Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA executives gathered here this week for the annual D-League Showcase have their radar up on others who could follow.

No G.M. should get his hopes up about Carlos Delfino returning to the States this season, according to two people with knowledge of the situation. But the other former NBAer playing in Russia, Jannero Pargo, is a good bet to return to the NBA for the right situation, the people said.

The sources -- one of them a top international scout and the other a person directly involved in NBA front-office dealings -- said Delfino is integral to Khimki BC's plans and loyal to its coach. Essentially, Delfino is committed to the team for the rest of the season and will re-evaluate his options afterward.

Rumblings about rampant interest in Pargo -- such as, for example, from the Lakers -- have been exaggerated, the second source said. But the Knicks -- coached by Mike D'Antoni with a style suitable to Pargo's skills -- are "quite possible" as a landing spot, the person said. Pargo, playing on a one-year deal for Dynamo Moscow, is friendly with Knicks point guard Chris Duhon, and they're both from Slidell, La.

The issue in Russia is that the sagging international economy has caused many teams to pay players late or not at all. The problem with Pargo finding a home back in the NBA is that the veteran's miniumum would be a pay cut. There have been various reports about what Pargo's deal is worth, but one of the sources knowledgeable about his situation said it was $3 million.

If, as expected, the Knicks get a $4.5 million disabled player exception for Cuttino Mobley, they may be inclined to use it for Pargo. They don't have to pay him the entire amount. But whatever they don't pay, they would forefeit because it can't be split among players. Given that the Knicks still have their $1.9 million biannual exception, using the Mobley exception would be better for them because they could save the biannual for next summer.


Posted on: January 6, 2009 12:31 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2009 4:45 pm

Knicks' No. 1 issue is Lee, not Marbury (UPDATE)

Orem, Utah -- Expect the flurry of trade rumors involving David Lee to continue during the run-up to the Feb. 19 trade deadline. We'll lay out the reasons, but first some perspective from a league executive scouting at the D-League Showcase here at Utah Valley University this week:

The executive was incredulous that the No. 1 story coming out of New York about the Knicks has to do with Stephon Marbury, who is far from Donnie Walsh's top priority. "Not even close," the executive said, arguing that the top issues on Walsh's plate involve Lee and Nate Robinson.

Neither was offered an extension before the season, meaning if they're still on the roster next summer they will be fielding offer sheets as restricted free agents. Robinson has exhibited his value as a scorer in MIke D'Antoni's ball-moving, up-tempo system. Lee is averaging a double-double, making his case for a handsome offer sheet that the Knicks would be unwilling/unable to match given their priority to clear cap space for 2010.

It is believed that Lee will be seeking a deal paying him $8 million-$10 million a year, either as an RFA or on the unrestricted market in 2010. That is far too rich for the Knicks, who need that money to attract a marquee free agent or two. Most team executives view Lee as a solid role player worthy of mid-level exception money. He's a gifted rebounder, but is undersized and lacks length, shooting touch, and the kind of defensive/shot-blocking presence most teams expect from a 4-5 man. (In my former job, I wrote that one of the top priorities of the Knicks' new regime would be trading Lee, and it turns out that I'm going to be right.)

The executive commenting on Lee's situation expressed doubt that Portland -- a team known to like Lee -- would trade a package of role players for another role player. The Blazers, according to the executive, would like to parlay players such as Travis Outlaw, Sergio Rodriguez, Rudy Fernandez, and/or Jerryd Bayless in a trade for a star -- not another role player. The Blazers have a star in Brandon Roy, potential stars in LaMarcus Aldridge and Greg Oden, but other than that, they've corned the market on role players. Nothing wrong with that, but why would they need another one?

Portland's affinity for Lee may have been exaggerated in reports about possible trade talks with the Knicks. The Blazers' position, as the executive I spoke with understands it, is that Lee is the only player on the Knicks' roster who interests them. That is much different from saying that the Blazers are hellbent on acquiring Lee. Where does the New York Post's report Tuesday that the Blazers are interested in Eddy Curry fit into all of this? Not sure, but how could anyone be interested in Curry when  he hasn't played a game all season?

Upon leaving the Knicks' practice facility Monday, Walsh called reports that he was trying to acquire former Knick Marcus Camby from the Clippers "made up." The most significant thing that happened with all of this was Walsh getting on the team charter for a four-game, seven-day road trip that begins Tuesday night in Oklahoma City. Marbury's representative, Hal Biagas, expected to meet with Walsh at some point this week to continue buyout talks, but evidently Walsh has other, more pressing business.

UPDATE: A second executive I spoke with here -- one who's had frequent conversations with the Knicks and Clippers -- said the Camby-to-Knicks scenario is indeed the stuff of fantasy. For one thing, the Clippers have recoiled into major cost-cutting mode. All Donald Sterling is looking to take back in trades is cash and short contracts. Camby's deal expires after next season, so the only way Sterling trades him is if he gets a contract expiring after this season in return.

The Lee rumors will continue, though, because 1) Lee is the Knicks' most tradeable assset, and 2) every GM in the league knows that Walsh can't afford to keep him and have enough cap space in 2010. And that is the issue Knicks fans should be focusing on, not Marbury.


Posted on: January 5, 2009 12:02 pm

So much for a Marbury-free New Year

In the time-tested tradition of breaking New Year's resolutions before all the garbage is cleaned up in Times Square, I have already fallen off the wagon. Loyal BergerSphere reader D. Miz of Breakin Down the Game has dutifully pointed out that  my promise of a Marbury-free New Year went by the boards with my very first post of 2009.

Then, while I was flying to Utah to convene with GMs and scouts at the NBA's midseason scouting combine -- the D-League Showcase -- Marbury managed to step back into the news again Sunday night. The Knicks beat the slumping Celtics 100-88 at Madison Square Garden while I was crammed into a seat built for my 4-year-old on a Delta flight to Salt Lake City. But that wasn't the story. The story was Kevin Garnett, Marbury's former teammate in Minnesota, saying publicly for the first time that he wouldn't stand in the way if the Celtics wanted to sign Marbury to bolster their underperforming, inexperienced bench.

"I'm not opposed to Steph joining the team," Garnett said after the game to a throng of reporters who waited an hour to tap into his opinions on Marbury. "I feel like Steph has a lot of basketball in him. I know his IQ is very, very high. He is one of the best point guards I ever played with. I wouldn't be opposed to that."

KG stopped short of endorsing a Marbury signing, emphasizing that he wasn't suggesting it -- just saying he wouldn't be opposed. It was still news, even though it fell under the category of a non-recommend recommend from Larry David. (Curb Your Enthusiasm fans, I know you're with me.)

Knowing Donnie Walsh for the shrewd executive that he is, I wouldn't bet on a swift resolution to the Marbury matter. He can't sign with another team until Walsh lets him out of his contract, and the longer this drags on, the more leverage Walsh has. With teams looking at declining revenue during the recession, there will be a mad dash to dump salary as we approach the Feb. 19 trade deadline. Walsh knows that he holds a potentially valuable chip in Marbury's $20.8 million expiring contract. If Marbury isn't dealt by the deadline, the leverage will have swung about 80-20 in Walsh's favor. Marbury would have to clear waivers by March 1 to be playoff-eligible for a new team.



Posted on: January 3, 2009 9:53 am

Marbury Musings

An ESPN.com report that Stephon Marbury prefers to play in Boston has created a bit of a stir this weekend, and a delayed reaction. We've discussed here several times that Marbury's two preferred destinations are Boston and Miami -- partly to stick it to the Knicks, partly because the situations would be oustanding for him.

The problem is that Marbury having a preference about where to sign once the Knicks set him free is only half the equation. It takes two to Starbury, and neither team has expressed anything other than morbid curiosity about Marbury and his impending availability.

The Heat, for one, are slightly over the luxury-tax threshold and are trying to avoid paying tax this season. So if they signed Marbury to the $1.2 million veteran's minium, they'd have to shed a player to satisfy that goal.

As for Boston, president Danny Ainge, of course, has been doing his due diligence on Marbury. Boston's recent stumbles only underscored concern about lack of depth with the departure of James Posey for New Orleans and retirement of P.J. Brown. According to a person familiar with the situation, Ainge feels strongly that Marbury was not at fault for the way his Knicks career has ended. He doesn't blame Marbury for balking at a chance to play after being told he wasn't in the team's plans. But Ainge also has concerns about where Marbury is physically after sitting out the entire regular season and the last two months of 2007-08 following foot surgery.

Ainge confided recently that he doesn't fully understand what transpired between the Knicks and Marbury over the last couple of years; it's been a complicated relationship, with plenty of blame to go around. Basically, Ainge has an open mind about Marbury, with a healthy dose of skepticism.

The facts are these. Ainge would not add Marbury to the locker room unless the following conditions were met:  1) He's healthy and in good enough shape to help the team; 2) The coaches want him; and 3) The players want him.

Although Marbury is in excellent condition, he hasn't played competitive minutes in months. The other two conditions are tossups. Doc Rivers isn't afraid of coaching difficult players, and there is a feeling on the coaching staff that the departure of James Posey has left Boston's bench with a critical flaw -- no dependable sixth man providing instant offense on a nightly basis. Posey's contribution wasn't just on the offensive end, though; he provided defense and intangibles, two things Marbury doesn't offer. Marbury can be a decent on-the-ball defender when he's committed, but the last few years in New York he was an awful help defender.

Anyway, all of this most likely would be a moot point once we get to condition No. 3 -- the players. There have been conflicting reports about whether Garnett would block a Marbury signing. To me, the fact that he hasn't openly endorsed adding a player he was teamed with so famously in Minnesota says everything you need to know.

It's fun to talk about, though. And it was fun to see this photo resurfacing with the ESPN followup item. Yes, that is yours truly locked in an uncomfortable embrace with Marbury at Knicks media day before the season. It's a long story, one that is far from over.


Posted on: December 29, 2008 4:40 pm

The case for Stephon Marbury

Eyebrows furrow and mouths fall agape when the topic of adding Stephon Marbury to the average NBA roster is broached. Why would any team want to invite the kind of chaos, discord, and most importantly, losing, that have followed Marbury everywhere he's been during his 12-year NBA career?

The Knicks, who need all the help they can get, are so allergic to Marbury at this point that they've decided to pay him $21 million (or whatever amount they have to fork over in a buyout) to stay away. I'm on record agreeing 100 percent with that decision, so we don't need to rehash it here.

But the NBA is a results business, and any other team considering adding Marbury -- either through a farfetched trade or by signing him to the veteran's minimum once the Knicks buy him out -- has to take an unbiased look at what Marbury would bring to the table.

Fortunately, Alan Hahn -- author, bloghost, and capable leader of the Knix Fix -- has done the math. Based on the Knicks' win-differential with and without Marbury during his four seasons with the team, Hahn computed (on his way to the airport) that Stephon-a-non-grata raised the Knicks' winning percentage by a measley .072. Seems like nothing, but over 82 games, Marbury is worth 5.9 victories.

Over the 50 or so games most teams have left, Marbury would be good for 3.6 wins. Such a number would be irrelevant to the Knicks, who are focused on the future -- not the playoffs. But do any borderline playoff teams out there need three or four more victories to get them over the hump? Miami, Milwaukee, Toronto, Philadelphia, and Dallas come to mind. (That's not to say any of those teams has interest, but they would appear to benefit the most from chalking up a few random Ws.) The Knicks would be in the same boat if they were looking to squeeze out a few more wins, grab the eighth seed, and get swept by Boston. That is not the plan. So all of the aforementioned teams have to take this with a grain of salt -- or maybe a few grains of Goody's headache powder -- before deciding whether Marbury's off-the-court baggage is worth the price of admission to the playoffs.

Oh, and they should consider that Marbury has never won a playoff series, either.




Category: NBA
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com