Tag:Amar'e Stoudemire
Posted on: June 21, 2011 3:39 am
Edited on: June 21, 2011 9:45 am

Why Jimmer Fredette makes sense for the Knicks

Posted by Matt Moore

It should be apparent by now that I'm not big on Jimmer Fredette as an NBA prospect. I've been trying to cool the irons on him since March. I've plugged him in as low as the late teens in mock drafts. I listed him in the "Buyer Beware" post. Basically, if you wanted to make the case that I'm a "hater," you wouldn't have to spend long cooking up the formula. In reality, I merely have concerns about his length, athleticism and adaptation to the NBA game. But in light of Ken Berger of CBSSports.com's recent post wrapping up the latest draft news, there's one scenario where Fredette can not only survive in the NBA game, but flourish. From the halls of Brigham Young to the streets of New York. From KB: 

If Toronto passes on Biyombo, some execs believe he could slide as far as 14-18, and the Knicks, with the 17th pick, are known to be high on him. But the apple of the Knicks’ eye is BYU sharpshooter Jimmer Fredette, and New York officials are trying to compute how far they’d have to trade up for him and what it would cost.
via NBA draft buzz: Kyrie No. 1 - CBSSports.com.

New York is the one place where Jimmer could not only become a decent role player (which is possible anywhere he's drafted, the kid can play after all) but develop into a legitimate star. While he'll never be Steve Nash, D'Antoni's system does reward players with quick instincts and efficient jumpers, which Jimmer has both of. D'Antoni has a knack for taking players of odd-fitting ilk (Boris Diaw, Leandro Barbosa, Toney Douglas, Landry Fields) and producing effective players by employing them correctly in his fast-paced dance. 

Fredette's never going to win any foot races in the NBA, but by filling in on the perimeter in transition to find open shots and by learning to distribute by sheer volume of opportunity, Fredette can become something more than he would be otherwise in the NBA. It's certainly true that D'Antoni preferes accomplished veterans whose athleticism prevails, but there's something to be said of the nexus of talent where D'Antoni's machinations so often play. Yes, Nash is a daring specimen in terms of conditioning despite his back problem, but it's always been his guile that has set him apart, as it did under D'Antoni. Fredette can quite simply remain a threat at all times as he loops under the basket and around it, while aslo working off of Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony. Fredette in the pick and roll with either player could be deadly as Fredette's shooter's touch would deny the defense's ability to cut under the screen and dare the ball-handler to shooot. Instead, due attention would have to be paid to Fredette which would open up angles for the superstars on the roll.

Granted all this is dependent on Fredette actually falling to wherever the Knicks wind up picking on Thursday. But as New York continues to pursue deals to move up -- among the many teams that should be wary of Fredette's limitations -- New York provides the right situation for Jimmer to thrive and be the firecracker his narrative so desperately sells him as.

Plus, no one will be able to tell if he can't play defense in New York. Sorry, the joke had to be made.
Posted on: June 19, 2011 2:56 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 9:51 am

Trade rumor: Knicks after Wolves G Jonny Flynn?

The New York Knicks are reportedly considering trading for Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Jonny Flynn. Posted by Ben Golliver. jonny-flynn

Clear the decks for Ricky Rubio!

The Minnesota Timberwolves have finally convinced the Spanish point guard to come to the NBA for next season. That means the team must now resolve a problem created when the Timberwolves drafted two point guards in the first six picks of the 2009 NBA Draft.

The easiest way to make sure that Rubio has enough playing time and space to get acclimated to the NBA game? Ship out Flynn, of course.

The New York Daily News reports that the Timberwolves and New York Knicks have discussed a Flynn trade.
The Knicks have had preliminary discussions with the Minnesota Timberwolves about a trade for point guard Jonny Flynn.

No formal deal is in place, but the Knicks are debating whether Flynn, the sixth overall pick of the 2009 draft would be a viable option to back up Chauncey Billups for at least one season. Flynn has become expendable now that the Wolves have signed Spanish guard Ricky Rubio, who was taken one pick ahead of Flynn.

Toney Douglas would likely be the player traded for Flynn.
If All-Star appearances were handed out based on personality, Flynn would be a perennial selection. Unfortunately, a back injury and a rough transition into coach Kurt Rambis' triangle offense have stunted his growth as an NBA player. 

To date, he's proved to be a jitterbug that can provide some scoring punch but not much else. Flynn's fit as a backup point guard would be slightly better than Douglas' but not markedly so. Both are scoring guards, but Flynn has more upside as a distributor. It's quite possible he looks much better as a playmaker when he's sharing the court with Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony rather than Darko Milicic and Martell Webster.

A change of scenery will no doubt do Flynn a lot of good. Trading for Flynn, who's coming off an injury and playing for a terrible team for two years, is the definition of "buying low." One concern: He is on the books for $3.4 million next season, which is a bit more than teams like to pay for a relatively unproven backup point guard. 

The Knicks, of course, have bigger questions at point guard. They will need to move Billups at some point if they hope to become a true championship contender. This trade is definitely one you consider from New York's perspective. The more talent you get behind Billups the better. Flynn's quickness would seem to be a major asset in coach Mike D'Antoni's up-tempo system. 

This wouldn't be a game-changing move for the Knicks, but Flynn's charisma seems like a natural fit at Madison Square Garden.
Posted on: June 17, 2011 12:48 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2011 12:54 pm

Basketball players lead top 50 richest athletes

Posted by Royce Young

It's good to be a basketballer.

Sports Illustrated released its annual "Fortunate 50" list that compiles the top 50 earners in sports. And basketball players lead the way with 19 of the top 50. Baseball was second with 17, the NFL third with eight, NASCAR and golf tied for fourth with three.

LeBron James was the top basketball money-maker, coming in third overall with an estimated $44.5 million this past year. That included $30 million from endorsements alone. All that badwill created from The Decision didn't appear to hurt King James in the pocketbook. Maybe he can offer Dirk Nowitzki a couple milion to touch the trophy.

Kobe Bryant checked in sixth making $34.8 million total, Kevin Garnett was seventh making $32.8 milion total and Dwight Howard 10th making $28.6 million total. So if you count that up, four of the top 10 came from the NBA. Three came from the NFL, and two apiece from golf and baseball.

(One thing to note: The original 50 list doesn't include international athletes. Yao Ming made $35.6 million last year and would've ranked sixth, ahead of Kobe, but he's on a separate international list. Dirk and Pau Gasol both made around $21 million.)

The rest of the NBA list:

11. Dwyane Wade: $28.2 million
16. Amar'e Stoudemire: $24.5 million
21. Carmelo Anthony: $23.1 million
24. Tim Duncan: $22.3 million
27. Vince Carter: $20.5 million

29. Rashard Lewis: $20.3 million
31. Kevin Durant: $20.0 million
34. Michael Redd: $18.5 million
36. Gilbert Arenas: $17.9 million
37. Zach Randolph: $17.7 million

40. Kenyon Martin: $16.8 million
43. Joe Johnson: $16.5 million
45. Elton Brand: $16.5 million
49. Paul Pierce: $15.6 million
50. Chris Bosh: 15.5 million

Posted on: June 15, 2011 10:21 pm
Edited on: June 15, 2011 10:37 pm

Amar'e: MJ connected with people, LeBron doesn't

New York Knicks forward Amar'e Stoudemire says Michael Jordan connected with people but LeBron James doesn't. Posted by Ben Golliver. amare-stoudemire

I had no idea that New York Knicks forward Amar'e Stoudemire was such a sage public relations guru.

After LeBron James lost the 2011 NBA Finals to the Dallas Mavericks, he caused a bit of a flap when he said: "All the people that was rooting on me to fail, at the end of the day they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before ... I'm going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things that I want to do with me and my family and be happy with that." 

A few days later, after some immense criticism, James wisely walked those statements back.

Enter Stoudemire, who sees these comments as a fundamental flaw for James and a major differentiating point between him and former Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan. Here are his comments, delivered to the New York Times:
“I think you have to conduct yourself in a way that people can relate to you,” said Stoudemire, who led the Knicks back to the playoffs this season after the team posted its first winning record (42-40) in 10 years. “The more they can relate to you, the more they will appreciate you.” 

“Everybody has their own way of commenting on things, but I would have commented differently,” Stoudemire said. “One thing about Michael Jordan was that no matter how great he was and how much of a platform he stood on, he still related to all the hard workers out there in the world. 

“I think LeBron is still young,” Stoudemire added, “and there is still time for him to reconnect with the public.”
Stoudemire couldn't be more right. He's highlighted the base level difference between Jordan and James. 

In a way, his point goes back to the recent news that James refers to himself as "King" when he text messages other NBA players. Not only does James struggle to connect with the working man, he struggles to connect with reality. He has earned so much money and had the world at his fingertips for so long -- half his life -- that it's quite possible, despite Stoudemire's hope, that James will never be able to reconnect with the average person.

Sure, winning would go a long way to help boost his popularity, but won't a title simply cause more people to idolize him or despise him rather than bridging the gap? Has he reached a level of polarizing fame where there is no turning back? It sure feels that way.

Posted on: May 15, 2011 6:34 pm
Edited on: May 15, 2011 6:40 pm

Kevin Durant 'curious' about free agency bonanza

Oklahoma City Thunder All-Star forward Kevin Durant says he is "curious" about what a free agency recruitment would be like. Posted by Ben Golliver. kevin-durant

Nearly everyone in the world loves Oklahoma City All-Star forward Kevin Durant. One major reason for that: the hyper-talented, two-time NBA scoring champ quietly agreed to a five-year contract extension with the Thunder last summer without asking for so much as a player option on the deal's final year. 

Contrasted with LeBron James' "The Decision," Durant's extension came off as both humble and loyal, two qualities that many believe have been lost among modern superstars in professional sports.

Just one year later, though, Durant is apparently singing a slightly different tune. In an ESPN.com feature, Durant admits a part of him is curious about experiencing a free agency recruitment period, the likes of which James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Ama're Stoudemire enjoyed last summer.
Asked if any inch of him wanted to someday experience his own summer of LeBron, Durant said: "You said an inch, so I'll take that inch. One inch of my mind just wants to experience that, see what it's like, you know. I've been through the recruitment process, of course, going to college, but I want to see how that is. I'm not saying that I want to go to another team or I want to go to a greater market. But just how much it was publicized this summer, I just want to see what that's like. I'm an interested person, I'm a curious person. And once again, I'm not trying to say I want to leave or anything. But I just want to see how that is.

"I'll be 27 when my contract's up. So maybe when I'm 27 … But you never know. Two or three years down the line, I might sign another extension here. So we'll see. We'll see. But right now, I'm happy where I'm at, I'm glad I'm locked in for five years."
Obviously, it's way, way too early for Thunder fans to panic at Durant's honesty. Five years is five years.

Earlier this week, we noted an SI.com report that the NBA owners and the Players Association are considering adding a franchise tag to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement to give additional advantages to incumbent teams to help them keep their star players. Durant is the quintessential example of the type of player on whom a franchise tag would be used. If and when he reaches the end of his current extension, he will be 27 years old and just entering his prime. His market value and league-wide interest will never be greater. But he'll also have established a nine-year relationship with the Thunder organization and an eight-year relationship with small-market Oklahoma City and its fans. 

In other words, if there's a "franchise tag" in place, Durant's "curiousity" could cost him more than it cost James and Bosh, for example. Both of those players left money on the table to facilitate their moves to Miami from Cleveland and Toronto, respectively, but it wasn't a substantial, decision-changing sum. To James and Bosh, the chance to team up to win a championship far outweighed the financial benefits of loyalty.

But what if the Cavaliers and Raptors had been able to throw more -- a lot more -- money at them in the form of greater guarantees or additional year(s) at the end of the deal that come with a franchise tag. Would there have been a point where money became the deciding factor again? Probably. Everything has a price, right?

If it's the attention that Durant is seeking, he'll get that no matter what. But if it's a new market or a new challenge, that could cost wind up costing him.
Posted on: April 24, 2011 8:56 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 10:09 pm

Celtics sweep sends Knicks to summer of questions

The Boston Celtics swept the New York Knicks in their first round NBA playoff series, sending New York into the summer with a host of questions. Posted by Ben Golliver.

The Boston Celtics sent the New York Knicks into the summer with a 101-89 victory in Game 4, sweeping the first round playoff series in relatively easy fashion. The series victory comes as no surprise, although New York's inability to pull out at least one win is a bit eye-opening. When your starting point guard goes down in Game 1 and your franchise player is dealing with back pain through Games 3 and 4, though, the sweep isn't crippling. That isn't rationalizing. That's reality.

The Knicks exited Madison Square Garden to cheers, and with their heads up. They chose to focus on the positive: the team made the playoffs for the first time since 2003-2004, and they're poised for countless return trips with Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony locked into long-term deals. Things could be a lot worse for the Knicks. Hell, things have been a lot worse for the Knicks.

But that doesn't make this a worry-free summer. Not by a longshot. Despite the level of certainty that comes with having two franchise players on the same roster, there are plenty of unanswered questions looming. 

Teams like the Celtics spend the summer dealing with questions like "Who should be our backcourt energy guy off the bench?" The Lakers ask themselves questions like: "Which veteran forward has the proven ability to dish out flagrant fouls and annoy people?" Those are the types of questions that contenders ask themselves as they prune their bonsai tree.

The Knicks have planted their playoffs seed, but that's about it. New York's questions, really, are huge. Starting with: "Who is going to be our GM next season?" Continuing with: "Is Mike D'Antoni the right coach for this job?" Those lead neatly into questions about the roster. "Are we totally sure that we want to pay Chauncey Billups $14 million next season after he broke down in the first game of the playoffs?" And, perhaps the most pressing of all: "We still don't have a center, do we?"

Even with all of those questions hanging unanswered, Anthony struck an optimistic tone with the New York Times following Game 4. ""Some happy times is ahead of us," he said. And he's correct. The Knicks are on the rise, their salary ledger is in fairly tidy shape and the Celtics are another year older while the Orlando Magic appear to be imploding. There's nothing stopping New York from being an elite team in the mid-term future. We could easily be looking at an Eastern Conference that is dominated by the Chicago Bulls, the Miami Heat and the Knicks over the next five years. This summer, however, will be crucial to making that a reality.

Aside from Stoudemire and Anthony, New York's cupboard is pretty bare. Landry Fields is a nice piece, Ronny Turiaf is a rotation guy and Toney Douglas is worth keeping around. That's five players. New York will need to add another 3-5 quality pieces if they're serious about contending.

New York's dream of chasing an elite center like Dwight Howard, or even an above-average big man like Marc Gasol, are unlikely to come to fruition. Without trade assets or the ability to outbid for a free agent, that top-level talent is likely to pass them by. The good news: there's room to compromise. The Knicks really only need half of a center: a defense and rebounding specialist to make Stoudemire's life a bit easier. Throw that player in with Turiaf and the frontcourt rotation is essentially set.

The tougher question is what to do with Billups. He's certainly not worth the $14.2 million he's on the books for next season, but the size of his partial guarantee ($3.7 million) makes that a tough bullet to bite. There has been some discussion about an extension for Billups that could alleviate some of next year's cap hit but he hardly seems like the player you want to commit to long-term if you're New York, given the age of your stars and the nature of his game. Committing to Billups is far more likely to be a salary cap anchor rather than roster stabilizer. Paying him his $14.2 million and then attempting to shop him in advance of next year's deadline might be the best solution. He's capable, if not spectacular, and his expiring contract would be one of the few available trade chips in New York's war chest.

But nothing gets done roster-wise until the Knicks make a decision on Donnie Walsh. The saga surrounding his future has been one of the most puzzling in the league. Retaining Walsh is a no-brainer, assuming he's interested. But if he isn't brought back -- either because owner James Dolan decides to go another direction or because age caught up with him -- it's imperative that the Knicks find a like-minded executive to carry out his franchise construction plan. Given the gigantic dollars already committed to Anthony and Stoudemire, an executive wielding a scalpel is far preferable to one toting a chainsaw.

As for D'Antoni, the trip to the playoffs should ensure his future for another season. He displayed progress and injuries and talent disparity are the causes of this sweep, not his decisions. He's well-regarded and solid enough, despite the questions on the defensive end, to take a deeper Knicks team further into the postseason in coming years.
Posted on: April 24, 2011 3:07 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 3:26 pm

D'Antoni: 'I'd like to see (Rondo) play on Minny'

Posted by Matt Moore with special thanks to Ken Berger

You know what I'd do if I were head coach of a team that was down 0-3 in a series and heading in to an elimination game against the defending Eastern Conference champs? I'd question the ability of the point guard who just dropped the second ever 20-assist playoff triple-double on me. Great idea, right? I'd question how he would play were he not surrounded by three Hall of Famers who also happen to be very protective of said enigmatic point guard, and also happen to be very capable of taking out their frustrations on the court. That's what I would do... if I were a masochist. 

Mike D'Antoni is said masochist. 

From Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, live from Madison Square Garden for today's Knicks-Celtics Game 4: 

Mike, it isn't like Rondo just had an okay game or series. He didn't just hit a double-double one night to help out his club. This is the guy who dropped 20 assists on you in a triple-double... twice! Of the eight times such a feat has been accomplished, regular season or playoffs, Rondo has done it three times. Two of them have come against New York.  

D'Antoni may need to spend more time in the countryside. The expression, "You mess with the bull, you get the horns?" It has a literal meaning which might help him avoid tweaking players who have the proven skillset to totally dismantle his club on the hardwood, and, this time, send them packing into the longest NBA layoff in 12 years. 

D'Antoni's point isn't without merit, though. We have never seen Rondo without the three Hall of Famers. Rondo's ball-fake, slip-pass, lightning fast whip passes wouldn't produce as many points if he were slinging to Michael Beasley, Travis Outlaw, Sasha Vujacic, Donte Greene, or any of the other casts of the lotto squads. But Rondo's learned so much with his time among the Big 3 that it's not like he'd fall off the cliff. We'll get a chance in a few years to see what Rondo looks like when he's the best player on the team from a career perspective, and whether that translates to the same kind of success he's had among the greats in Boston. 

D'Antoni did tell reporters, "But Rondo's a very, very good basketball player. Really good. There's no doubt about that." But does he think that part of the quote is what's going to get put on the bulletin board in the Celtics' locker room, or pasted on highlight reels before clips of Game 4? D'Antoni's greater philosophical point may be worth examination, but within the context of the series, and in its timing, it was a poor decision. 

Horns, Mike. Horns. 
Posted on: April 24, 2011 2:22 pm

NBA Playoffs: Amar'e Stoudemire will play Game 4

Posted by Matt Moore

From Ken Berger of CBSSports.com before today's Game 4 between the Knicks and Celtics, an elimination game for New York:

If the Knicks are going to have any shot at making this a series, they need a great Amar'e. Stoudemire will give it a go. Without Billlups, Toney Douglas will go again. We'll see if it's as amusing as it was last time. 

For more on today's Knicks-Celtics Game 4, follow Ken Berger on Twitter
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com