Thursday, July 15, 2010

An E-Mail From Knicks General Manager, Donnie Walsh

Most e-mails I receive from the New York Knicks are promoting offers to see Cirque d’solei or to grab a luxury box for an upcoming concert.  Every now and again, a new player signing or a relatively important trade triggers a communication from the front office.  

Even though every NYK season ticket holder and anyone signed up to be an “insider” received it, Donnie Walsh sent me an email today with a status update that puts facebook to shame.  Let’s cut to the chase…

“For the first time in many years, we will be fielding a roster comprised of several young, talented and exciting players that are the key building blocks of our future success. At the same time, we have retained valuable cap flexibility, setting us up to be strategic and add additional key players over the next couple of seasons.”

As a longtime Knicks fan, Donnie couldn’t be closer to the truth.  For the first time I can remember, the Knicks aren’t fielding a roster comprised of several young players, but several young, talented, and exciting players.  Long gone are the days of Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari being brought down by an inept point guard and role players who on any other team would be coming off the bench. 

“Our biggest off-season move was the signing of All-Star power forward Amar’e Stoudemire…”

Donnie elaborates beyond stating the obvious, but really nothing else needs to be said.  It’s a bit of a risky move, considering Stoudemire’s past knee and eye problems, but he is one of the game’s best and is an upgrade over David Lee for a bit more money each year compared to the contract Lee got from Golden State.  Speaking of the Warriors… 

“A second key free agency acquisition was point guard Raymond Felton. One of the NBA’s quickest and toughest players, Ray is an ideal fit to run Coach D’Antoni’s fast-paced offense. We also traded for two solid two-way contributors in swingman Kelenna Azubuike and forward/center Ronny Turiaf, and added Anthony Randolph, an outstanding young forward who has the physical talent to be among the league’s best."

It’s amazing what the Knicks were able to get out of the sign and trade for David Lee – three players with low salaries and lots of upside and a future 2nd round pick.  Turiaf is an inside the paint bruiser  and Azubuike is a SF/SG who can put up some points coming off the bench.  I really like the Randolph pick up, especially since he is only due $1.8 million next year, but the Knicks must be really high on him to also commit over $7 million to Turiaf and Azubuike. 

Regardless, the Knicks this season will be more athletic and BIGGER – Stoudamire, Gallinari, Turiaf, Curry, Mozgov, and Jerome Jordan (if he makes the roster) are all 6’10” – 7’1” and there are rumblings of Earl Barron returning to hopefully pick up where he left off with a strong showing on a short-term deal to close the 2009 – 2010 season.  Not that I think it’s likely, but Shaq has also been mentioned as a possibility for the Knicks.  I’m not a huge fan but think he would fit in better with the current Knicks than he did in Cleveland.  And it would be a great move for O'Neil - there is no better way to make yourself relevant again than a late-career resurgence in the biggest market around and he could begin to develop his post-NBA plans (fingers crossed for a Kazaam sequel).

"The newest Knicks join our strong, promising core of young players including Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, and Toney Douglas. We have made great progress assembling a team with long-term success in mind, and will continue to explore the right opportunities to add complimentary players to our roster.”

While D’Antoni’s late game decisions sometimes leave me bewildered, the only personnel decision from last season I really questioned him on was continuing with Chris Duhon for so long instead of switching to Toney Douglas.  TD isn’t a natural point guard but an explosive 1 or 2 who can pull up, get to the hoop, and create havoc on defense.  If Douglas can develop the vision and creativity to make plays like Boston's Rajon Rondo, another 6’1” guard whose physical style creates turnovers and can change the momentum of the game, the Knicks will be just fine if the most attractive point guards on the market next summer (and possibly trade block sooner) re-up with their respective Western Conference teams or sign elsewhere.  And that doesn't even consider the potential of newcomer Raymond Felton who went just after Chris Paul and Deron Williams in the 2005 NBA draft...   

Players not mentioned in Donnie Walsh’s note?  Leaner and meaner Bill Walker, Timofey Mozgov, and Eddy Curry - the last remnant of the Isaiah Thomas debacle, even though the Knicks 2011 and 2012 drafts will again remind us of the lasting damage linking back to the Jared Jeffries salary dump last season to Houston.   

Anyway, thanks for the e-mail, Donnie.  We’re looking forward to another update, even if the Knicks' next big splash isn’t until February or July 82011.     

1 comment:

MC ENTIRE said...

I think what's the most important part of this email is that for the first time he's talking like a winner!!! For 2 years, he (and Mike) have been given a free pass, obliterating the disaster that was Hurricane Isaiah (fitting he's in florida) and putting the Knicks in a position to compete. And we're finally here.

Even though most teams in the East have gotten better the Knicks should be a playoff team. Sixth seed is a realistic goal, but one they can pull off with this team. It will be about chemistry and how quickly they can develop it with so many new faces. I'm excited that Donnie's talking like a winner.

Re Shaq: Not sure, I can see the benefit of bringing him in more as a mentor and the occasional bruiser. It's like you have to treat him like a pitcher-he can play every 5th game for 6innings before he needs his relief. Thank god for icey-hot. Ultimately, I think the Knicks should pass on Shaq. I think he's a great media sideshow, but not worth the $$$$