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Trades

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A Rose is a Francis is a Marbury.

In the most recent attempt to revivify the moribund Knickerbockers — who, with the possible exception of 2012/13, have been terribad for as long as GitM has existed — Phil Jackson and new coach Jeff Hornacek decide to take a page from the 2010-2011 Chicago Bulls, adding PG Derrick Rose and very likely C Joakim Noah to the current nucleus of Melo and Porzingis.

Uh…yeah, hope springs eternal and all, but this doesn’t seem like it’s going to work. We already did the former-All-Star-PG-on-the-back-half bit with Steve Francis and Stephon Marbury, and those were not good years. And, to put it charitably, both Rose and Noah have Mr. Glass tendencies at this point. I know Rose, at worst, is a one-year-loaner, but wouldn’t it make more sense to build young around Porzingis?

The Prodigal King Returns.

“I feel my calling here goes above basketball. I have a responsibility to lead, in more ways than one, and I take that very seriously…I want kids in Northeast Ohio…to realize that there’s no better place to grow up. Maybe some of them will come home after college and start a family or open a business. That would make me smile. Our community, which has struggled so much, needs all the talent it can get.”

Hear ye, hear ye…What a difference four years makes. With a touch of class noticeably bereft from 2010’s televised The Decision, LeBron James announces his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. “In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have. I’m ready to accept the challenge. I’m coming home.”

The state of Ohio is rightfully rejoicing at the return of their prodigal son. Unfortunately, to make the math work on the deal, Cleveland also had to take on the Republican Convention in 2016. That one’s gonna hurt.

The Knicks Reset. | But Melo’s in the Mix.

“‘Watching them play, I saw guys that looked at each other like, you didn’t back me up, you weren’t here when I needed help,’ Jackson said. ‘There just wasn’t the right combination or feel [where] it felt like everybody was in sync all the time.'”

Just prior to this year’s draft — very classy move by Commissioner Silver with the Isaiah Austin pick last night — Phil Jackson pulls the trigger on a long-awaited Knicks overhaul, sending Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to Dallas for Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Shane Larkin, Wayne Ellington, and two second round draft picks, which later became Cleananthony Early and Thanasis Antetokounmpo.

I always liked Chandler — Felton, er, didn’t really pan out — but it definitely seems like time to completely hit the reset button on the franchise.

Same goes for Carmelo Anthony. It’d be great if the Knicks could keep him, but, were I in his shoes, I’d sign with Chicago or Dallas too. The Knicks are now in full rebuilding mode with an untested coach. The Bulls and Mavs have more pieces to really make a run at a championship right now. So no harm, no foul, ‘Melo — Do what ya gotta do.

“I will always remember this chapter in my life. In the end, I am a New York Knick at heart. I am looking forward to continue my career in Orange & Blue and to work with Phil Jackson, a champion who builds championship teams. Madison Square Garden is the mecca of basketball and I am surrounded by the greatest fans in the world.”

(The bigger paycheck probably didn’t hurt either.) In any event, Carmelo will remain a Knickerbocker, and apparently even took a slight pay cut to allow for more cap space next year. We’re gonna need it – Unless the league has forgotten how to defend the triangle, the Knicks still look to have at least another year of waiting before we’re even a second-round contender in the playoffs. Still, good to have Melo aboard for the long haul.

The Coming of Carmelo.


‘Wow, just had the craziest 12 hours of my career,’ Anthony said on his Twitter account last night.” That late-night booyah! sound you heard the other night? That was Knickerbocker Nation reacting to the happy news that, after a half-season of crossed fingers at the Garden, the impressively over-performing Amar’e Stoudamire will get some much-needed help in Carmelo Anthony (not to mention veteran Chauncey Billups, who will take over for Raymond Felton at the point…at least until Chris Paul can get free…)

To make this dynamic duo happen, we had to give up Felton, streaky scorers Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler, 7-foot prospect Timofey Mozgov, X-factor-gone-bust Anthony Randolph, the ghost of Eddy Curry, some future draft picks and some cash…For the record, I am totally ok with all of this.

As ESPN’s Ian O’Connor writes, “This is a great deal for the Knicks, a greater moment for their fan base…[I]t’s one of the best trades this team has made since Eddie Donovan acquired Dave DeBusschere in 1968.” Let’s hope events bear out this sportswriterly exaggeration — The Carmelo Era at MSG begins tonight at 7:30.

Concrete Jungle Where Rings are Made Of.

“Hey, Lebron, it’s us, New York. First of all, congratulations on winning your second straight MVP last week. Now, may it be the last one you ever win with the Cavaliers. You see, we heard somewhere that your contract with them ends at midnight on July 1 and that you’ll be free to play with any team. And you know what? We think you’d love it here in New York.”

Well, the King’s season isn’t over yet. (Although it may be soon, if there’s another game like tonight’s 120-88 Game 5 fiasco.) Nonetheless, New York Magazine offers LeBron James a multi-part hard sell of NYC on behalf of the Knickerbockers. To my mind, their logic is irrefutable.

The King AND His Court?

[I]f James, Wade and Bosh truly want to make history, they could do the unthinkable and split the Knicks’ $33 million three ways. It would cost them salary money, but can you imagine how much they’d make on the back end if they started reeling in NBA titles? In New York?” No, I’m afraid I cannot imagine it. I’ll have to see it for myself… ESPN’s Gene Wojciechowski makes the case for the top tier of NBA superstars all signing with New York this summer. Hey, a guy can dream, can’t he?

Digging Up the Garden.

In a flurry of moves at the deadline, the Knickerbockers acquire Tracy McGrady in a three-team trade (for Jared Jeffries, Jordan Hill, Larry Hughes, and two draft picks), dump Nate Robinson on Boston (for Eddie House, basically), and end the Darko experiment (trading him to Minnesota for Brian Cardinal, who will likely be waived.)

The upshot here? We get Tracy McGrady for 31 probably meaningless games, and should have lots of money to play with in this summer’s LeBron sweepstakes — enough to sign two marquee free agents next year. All in all, well-played, New York. Here’s hoping the post-Ewing decade of losing is at last coming to an end.

Aristotle Meets the King. | Draft Day.

On a Draft Day deal with potential title implications, Shaquille O’Neal joins LeBron James in Cleveland. (Phoenix, giving up on their ill-advised Shaq experiment, pick up Ben Wallace, Sasha Pavlovic, and the 46th pick — so, this is a money move, basically.) To my mind, this is a solid move by the Cavs. Shaq may be in the tail-end of his career, but he’s still good enough and strong enough to draw double-teams down low, which is exactly what Cleveland was missing this past post-season. Pick up a pure shooter or two to spread the wings and keep the D on Lebron honest, and the Cavs are looking deadly.

Other than Shaq, the other major move of late was Richard Jefferson to the Spurs for Bruce Bowen and Kurt Thomas, which puts a stop to San Antonio’s slide in the West almost immediately, and should make them a contender again if everybody stays healthy. And ex-Knick and now-journeyman Jamal Crawford looks headed to Atlanta from Sacramento, where he’ll undoubtedly put a lot of points on the board…but I don’t really see him making that team a top-tier contender. At least in the Knick days, his D was atrocious.

Speaking of New York, they tried to move up the draft to No. 5, but now look to be hoping somebody decent falls to 8 tonight. They may also be trying to get Darko Milicic for Quentin Richardson, which sounds iffy on paper. But perhaps Darko has improved since his days as a notable draft day bust. In any case, we’ll see how it all shakes out tonight at the Garden.

Update: The Knicks buy a late first round pick — 29 — from the Lake Show. “‘Certain teams, they may want to preserve cap space for the next year or two and they may need to add players,’ Kupchak said. ‘A good way to add talent at a fixed price is to have a lot of draft choices and then you can still maintain cap space a year from now.‘” And we all know what happens a year from now

Update 2: Donnie gets Darko, and Arizona PF Jordan Hill at #8. [Full Draft.]

Stephon Gone.

A good spot of news out of MSG the past week: After far too many twists and turns, the ignominious Marbury Era is at now long last over for the New York Knickerbockers. (Of course, the Celtics scooped him right up to replace Sam Cassell for their playoff run. Fine, take him, and good riddance.)

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