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The Other Side: New York Knicks

Why is everybody picking on me? (AP Photo/Donna McWilliam)

Contrary to popular opinion, the New York Knicks have not petitioned the league to forfeit the next two seasons until they can convince a big-name superstar to make Madison Square Garden home. But ever since making those salary-cap-liberating trades to get rid of Jamal Crawford and Zach Randolph, the Knicks have slid from being a .500 basketball team to one that is destined to make another lottery selection. The Knicks have gone 8-16 since they traded Randolph to the Los Angeles Clippers and their fans are dreaming about LeBron James wearing the 2-3 in the 2-1-2 in 2-0-1-0.

The Knicks (14-22) return home on Wednesday after a 1-3 road trip that started with losses to Oklahoma City, Dallas and Houston, but concluded with a surprising 101-95 win against the New Orleans Hornets. In their last home game, the Knicks beat the Boston Celtics, 100-88. Eight of the Knicks' 14 wins this season have come against teams that currently have losing records, and they have been partially responsible for getting two coaches fired this season.

The Sacramento Kings fired Reggie Theus after a home loss to the Knicks on Dec. 13, and the Wizards, of course, canned Eddie Jordan after they lost to a seven-man Knicks team on Nov. 22. As you might expect with a Mike D'Antoni team, the Knicks rank sixth in the league in scoring average (102.8) and 28th in opponents' points per game (106.3).

Here is what you should know about the Knicks before they face the Wizards in a home-and-home series beginning tonight:

1. Eddy Curry Is Having Problems On and Off the Court
What? You thought controversy would leave the Knicks once Isiah Thomas and Stephon Marbury were jettisoned? Eddy Curry has taken on the role of making headlines without actually playing. After missing the first 34 games with a persistent knee injury, Curry made his season debut last week in Dallas and got two points and two rebounds in three minutes. The workload was too much, because Curry was forced to sit the next two days with further complications. Now, Coach Mike D'Antoni has said that Curry won't play for him until he slims down. (Curry is hovering around 300 pounds.)

Further complicating Curry's life, his former limo driver, David Kuchinsky, slapped him with a shocking lawsuit in which he is seeking $5 million for sexual harassment and racial discrimination. Kuchinsky claims, among other things, that Curry exposed himself and made lewd comments on at least two occasions. Curry has stated that the allegations are "absolutely false; just incredible."

2. Mike D'Antoni Is Underrated
Leave it to incomparable ESPN The Magazine columnist Bill Simmons to come up with a really intriguing and provocative premise. In the Jan. 12 issue, Simmons wrote a column stating: "With the possible exceptions of Dr. James Andrews, Isiah Thomas and Dick Bavetta, as well as the inventors of SportsCenter, cocaine and the JumboTron, nobody randomly altered the course of NBA history quite like Mike D'Antoni." He followed with a very compelling argument that concurs with my thoughts on Steve Nash. My favorite line in the article is when he discusses D'Antoni's "seven seconds or less (SSOL)" offense and says the reverse acronym for SSOL is LOSS.

3. David Lee Might Stick Around -- or Get Traded
The Knicks haven't hidden their desires not to squander all the cap space they'll have in 2010. Frank Isola of the New York Daily News wrote that David Lee's days with the Knicks could be numbered since he is up for an extension this summer. But Newsday's Alan Hahn wrote that Lee's recent play has forced team president Donnie Walsh to think about rewarding Lee with an extension anyway.

Either way, Lee is having a solid season. He ranks fifth in the league in rebounding (11.1) and field goal percentage (57.3) and averages 14.9 points. He had 24 points and nine rebounds against the Hornets, which snapped a string of eight consecutive double-doubles. Lee has recorded a double-double in 23 of his past 27 games.

By Michael Lee  |  January 13, 2009; 4:28 PM ET
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Next: What Should Grunfeld Do?



- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | January 13, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse


I give you an "A" for effort, but because of the demise/collapse of the Les BouleS season/franchise, I seriously doubt if interest in the NBA, nevermind Les BouleS will continue on until maybe the playoffs/lottery.

I think you can discontinue with the weekly reports on players and teams.

With regard to sports in this town, you can probably stick a fork in it right now.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | January 13, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

two teams that are playing for next season and beyond. great for the armchair GMs to think about, but for the fans that are paying the money to attend these games, my condolences.

Posted by: leopard09 | January 13, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

I love this blog. Don't change a thing.

I'm a big D'Antoni guy. He just seems really cool and low key. But, I would have brought up the Simmons article if you didn't. Of course his players have more stats, but he, as you said Michael, is very convincing.

Posted by: patrick15 | January 13, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Back to the Wiz - News Flash

Dear Abe:

In NBA.TV's weekly top 10 highlights, the Wizards took the 4th, 3rd and 2nd spots with:

4) NY's dunk
3) McGee's dunk
2) Young's assist to McGee's dunk

Would like to fill some seats with a 7 and something record? Tell Taps to PLAY THE YOUNG GUYS!

Posted by: Izman | January 13, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Email for free shirt

Send your address and you will get a free shirt.

Posted by: erniegone | January 13, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Mike, Keep up the reports on the rest of the league. Your insights are much better then what an NBA fan can find on ESPN, Fox Sports, or even on the site(which I think is sorely lacking in content).

Not a good year for the fans in the stands, I gave up my season tickets two years ago and I don't miss them right now.But it's an interesting year to speculate about the future of this team. There's a lot of decisions on Ernie's plate.

Head Coach, I'd tend to beleive Ernie should pull the trigger on that sooner rather then later. There's a whole batch of guys available and sitting in the wings. Hire one at the Allstar break and let him spend the last half of the year evauluating the roster.

A fresh set of eyes might find some player combo's that haven't been tried. That way going into the most important draft for the team in quite awhile the Wiz would have a coach on board to help with player evauluations.

Getting an NBA coach on board with an established pedigree would give Ernie a fresh set of eyes in looking at our roster and who's out there that's available in a trade. And help with the decision of who fits best with this roster.

Tapps is doing a better job of weaving playing time for the young players into his rotation. But I don't see him as a longterm answer, this team needs a coach with an NBA head coaching pedigree. No more Gar Heard's or even Eddie Jordan's.

Mike,Keep up the good work reporting on the reat of the league. GM

Posted by: flohrtv | January 14, 2009 8:09 AM | Report abuse


All coaching hires are made in the offseason. That's just the way it goes. There is no chance the wiz ask their interim coach to step down in the interim. And there is no way EG pulls an early trigger on his most important decision in his tenure here.

In fact, have you ever heard of a team doing such a thing in any of the major sports?

Its really a ridiculous idea if you consider what's at stake, which is the next 5 years of this franchise. Success or failure over that stretch of time hinges on EG's pick for coach.

And you guys want him to rush?

I'm sure some of you folks are in the business world, and certainly all of you have a job of some sort. So my question to all of you that wish to see a coach hired RIGHT THIS MOMENT, do you make on-the-job decisions in such a fashion? Decisions that impact your livelihood, your future, and the futures of others in your organization, as well as the organization itself as a whole?

Posted by: jones-y | January 14, 2009 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Jones-y, I run a business, some decisions take time. But Grunfeld has had since Dec. to get started. The reason I think it would be a good idea to bring another coach on board at the All-Star break is so he can start to evauluate the roster and how they'll fit into his system.

The only real reason to wait is if Grunfeld wants to interview guys that are presently working for other teams as assistants.

But if Grunfeld has a guy in mind that is out of work now, why wait? It would give the coach 1/2 a season to work with the team's present assistants and players and see how things are being done. He could then hire his assistants in the off season.

Hubie Brown left the booth and went to the Grizzlies in Mid season. Almost got them to the playoffs.

There are a number of experienced NBA coaches out of work now. Sure if Grunfeld doesn't feel any of them fit then wait. If it ends up being one of these guys that are out of work now, why wait.

Tappscott was only given an interim label, coaching or manager changes are made in mid-season all of the time. The General Manager has every right to say when the interim is over.

My point is having the coach that is going to run the team in the future take an active part in player evaulation with a chance know what has been going on in the locker room and at practices.

This draft pick or the trading of the pick could be one of the more important decisions the Wizards make in the next 5 years. Having the coach onboard to help make that decision would seem reasonable to me.

I wouldn't buy a business, stock the shelves, hire the staff, and THEN look for a manager. I'd find the manager to run it before I closed on the business, they'd be part of inventory selection and hiring the staff. At least that's how I'd go about it..

Posted by: flohrtv | January 14, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

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