In one word it sums up the Knick’s free agency period so far. So much was expected and so little happened. Phil Jackson went to sleep on June 30th Dreaming about guys like Lamarcus Aldridge, Greg Monroe, and Deandre Jordan and so far has only been able to land….
Before you think this is a crazy idea, take a second to hear it out.
The big rumor circulating around Knicks Nation is that Carmelo Anthony is very displeased with the Knick’s latest draft pick Kristaps Porzingis. Now Carmelo hasn’t come out and said anything directly in non-support of the pick, but there was a story immediately after the draft that Anthony spoke with now Hawk, Tim Hardaway Jr., to voice his displeasure. That was shocking that he would contact Tim Hardaway Jr., to vent since that it has been documented that those two are the closest of friends. It makes the comments he is said to have made more unbelievable. More recently Carmelo has been seen on Instagram defending himself and also mentioned that Porzingis is a “steal.” That quote is straight from the horse’s mouth. Maybe he just feels the need to say the right thing. Maybe he does really like the opportunity to play with Kristaps. Phil Jackson did mention that Carmelo Anthony attended Porzingis’ workout, however he didn’t say whether Carmelo approved or disapproved. Phil Jackson for sure wants to please Anthony, but he also has an obligation to the Knicks to set them up for the future as well.
This is the very first guest article to appear on NBAONLINEBLOG.COM. The author, Rashund Green is a 38 year old married father of a 7 year old daughter. He holds a B.S. in Economics and works in Financial Services. He grew up in a single parent household without a father.
After this year’s NBA Finals the topic of LeBron James vs David Blatt has dominated the sports news. This conversation got me thinking about LeBron’s actions towards his head coach David Blatt. Every aspect of LeBron’s career will always be compared against Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. I cannot recall a time when Michael or Kobe disrespected Phil Jackson or any other coach at any time moreless on the biggest stage in the NBA’s season. With sports media from around the world, LeBron clearly has disregarded Coach Blatt’s authority, play calling and role as the head of the team.
The next two superstars are here. The Lebron, Melo, Wade days are over. Kevin Durant is injured. Forget all the flash of the Steph Currys and Kyrie Irvings of the world. Nevermind James Harden and his beard or Anthony Davis and his eyebrows or eyebrow. Two old school blue collar guys are here and ready to take over the league. We’re talking about Jimmy Butler and Kawhi Leonard. Both of these guys came in in the 2011-2012 season. Kawhi was pick #15 and Jimmy was pick #30. Both were thought to be solid guys coming out of college but I don’t think there was anyone that expected them to be this good.
This series is highlighted by the two stars, Steph Curry and Anthony Davis. They both have played out of their minds this season, and both are in contention to win the league’s MVP award. Steph’s Warriors have been on top all year, while Davis’s Pelicans have been scratching and clawing their way just to stay at the bottom of the playoff pile. The Pelicans have dealt with injuries all year and the playoffs are no different with Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday banged up. The Warriors clinched the #1 seed what seemed like months ago and Steve Kerr has been resting guys to get them ready for this moment. It was a great effort for the Pelicans to get in the playoffs and saving Monty Williams’ job but the best they will do is win a game if they are lucky.
Who would’ve thought coming into the season that the Atlanta Hawks would be the number one seed. They have had a great year, winning 60 games and proving to the league that there is success to be had without a superstar (at least in the regular season). The Nets snuck into the playoffs since a hot Indiana team couldn’t get it done in the final game against the Grizzlies. The Nets have been quiet all year and lost all 4 games to the Hawks by an average of 17 points. Joe Johnson should be motivated to face his former team but it definitely won’t be enough. Deron Williams is a shell of himself and the Hawks are poised to show the world that with their style of play they can make a run in the playoffs. Brooklyn’s big three will need to play out of their minds to make this series competitive and that’s very unlikely.
This year’s MVP race has been the closest one in recent memory. Throughout the 82 game season there have been 5 players that have really been in consideration; Anthony Davis, Russel Westbrook, Lebron James, James Harden, and Steph Curry, however most of the year its gone back and forth between Curry and Harden. You can make a great case for either, but of course there can only be one. That one is James Harden.
Harden has carried his team this year to 2nd place in the West and the best record Houston has had since 1997. Dwight Howard has only played 40 games this season and the Rockets have posted a winning record without him. Howard is the only player on the Rockets other than Harden to score more than 30 points in a game this season, which he did one time back in November. Harden has scored or assisted on 57% of the Rockets points this season and has stepped up on defense as well. It was a close race but you have to give the credit to Harden for doing so much with a lot less talent around him that Steph Curry has.
Bill Parcells once said, “You are what your record says you are.” Well in the case of the Atlanta Hawks, I would have to beg to differ. The Hawks have won 16 games in a row and boast a 37-8 record which is good enough for tops in the league. They’ve beaten everyone. East, West. Good, bad. They all fall to Atlanta.
Something still isn’t right. Over the past ten years, the Hawks have been a 50 win club several times though the days of iso Joe and Mike Woodson are long gone, because it’s the Hawks one could assume to see the same result. A little above average in the regular season with below average playoff results. The current Hawks squad is a better more efficient team than in years past, but when the post season starts I have a feeling that much won’t change.
So much talent…..Wasted. Josh Smith should be a walking triple double in the NBA. At 6’9″ and 225lbs and all the athleticism anyone could dream of at that size, Josh Smith should be a player coveted by all 32 NBA teams. Instead he is a bit of a head case that likes to shoot threes instead of using his talent to get to the basket and make plays for others. His game has developed into a that of a lazy outside shooter that can shoot from the outside. Coming into the league, Smith had so much potential as a raw talent out of high school. Throughout his career he has shown flashes of what he could be, yet he never lived up to the level of success he should have had in the league. Now he has the Pistons giving him $26 million just to go away.
Getting release just doesn’t happen to NBA players. Being that they have guaranteed contracts, most are usually traded for something. Its rare that you see a team give a player money just to be done with him that wasn’t done via the amnesty clause. This tells you not only that signing Smith was a bad idea from the beginning, but also that he must be a problem in the locker room and for the organization. Detroit is a bad situation yes, but a 10-year veteran should be conducting himself as such at this point in his career.
He is averaging 13 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and almost 2 blocks this season which aren’t really bad numbers but you have to question his effort. Detroit is 5-23 and their season is already pretty much over. Stan Van Gundy finally realized that Smith isn’t going to make this team any better and wanted to give more minutes to the young guys on the squad, but you have to try to move the guy.You have to imagine that Van Gundy worked the phones and came up short. Smith’s contract would cap strap any team that took on his contract and that’s asking a lot for a guy that isn’t playing up to his potential and quite frankly doesn’t wish too. Smith should be putting up Lebron-type numbers. Not saying that Smith is on Lebron’s level, but there is no reason for Smith not to average 20 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks, all while shooting over 50%. Someone with his talent could do that effortlessly. This is why Josh has become so disappointing as a player. As a fan of his game, its hard to watch.
So where does he land? He won’t be looking for money, at least not this season. Some reports say the Clippers have some interest but the best case scenario is for him to land with the Rockets, a team that wanted him when he was last a free agent. He probably didn’t sign with them originally because Detroit decided to over pay. Houston is a place where Josh could come in and start, play with his former AAU teammate in Dwight Howard, and have the opportunity to work with Kevin Mchale and Hakeem Olajuwon to develop a post game and potentially revitalize his career. Then you have the Knicks and Lakers that come up in every free agent conversation but both scenarios are unlikely.
At Christmas last year, the then Bobcats were 14-15 and there seemed to be more optimism and momentum around a team that had just signed its biggest star in Al Jefferson and that was about to take on a significant change in going back to the Hornets name. Finishing 43-39 and making the playoffs, everyone was excited about what this team could become in the future. Turn the page and the Hornets are now 7-18 and looking for someone in which they can point the finger.
The same coach is in place. The same system is in place. On paper they are arguably better than they were last year. The additions of Lance Stephenson, Marvin Williams, PJ Hairston, and Noah Vonleh should’ve been moves catapulted this team to the middle ranks of the Eastern conference. Instead this team looks like one that seriously over achieved last year. The East has gotten better, but so should have the Hornets. They have problems they won’t address and they have created some issues down in Charlotte.