Archive for the ‘Knicks’ Category

When the Knicks were unceremoniously swept from the playoffs by the Celtics last Easter, it didn’t seem like much change to the roster would occur in the offseason. The team was relatively capped out and the marquee free agents were coming out in 2012, not 2011. With more time to jell, it would seem that Amar’e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, and Chauncey Billups would find their way and solidify the Knicks into a contender.

Well, things don’t always go as you plan. Tyson Chandler helped lead the Mavericks to the Title with his strong presence in the middle, and somehow the Knicks managed to sign him with a little help from the NBA’s amnesty clause as a result of the lockout. Chandler was coming to New York and Billups was the odd man out. For the first time since #33 was roaming the paint, the Knicks would have a dominating man in the middle. The contract may be a little overpriced at $58 million over four years for somebody that averaged 10 points a game last year, but you really can’t put a value on the intangibles and having somebody that can protect the rim from the LeBrons and Rondos of the world.

Amar’e, Melo, and Chandler now form one of the most feared frontcourts in the league, and the team’s commitment to defense is a welcome sight. Along with the acquisition of Chandler, hiring defensive specialist Mike Woodson as an assistant is a step in the right direction. We saw flashes of defensive brilliance last year and the players are saying all the right things about the renewed focus but it is one thing to say it and another to do it every night.

At the beginning of last season, Amar’e was everything for the Knicks. Now Carmelo assumes the burden of the scoring. Will STAT be happy with a lesser role? It should help to put less minutes on his creaky knees and back, but is there a chance it would lead to a power struggle? When Carmelo wants to shoot it, he’s going to shoot it. All indications are that they have a strong relationship but a lot can change if the W’s stop coming. Melo lost about 20 pounds in the offseason while Amar’e put on about the same amount in muscle. They both look like they’re in the shape of their lives, which is great considering it could have been a lot worse with the lockout. Look for both of them, especially Melo, to have good seasons.

With the strength up front, the guards are a total question mark. Landry Fields faded down the stretch like Snoop Dogg on 4/20 and scored seven points in the entire playoff series against the Celtics. Whether he was unable to handle the pressure or his struggles were just a result of rookie fatigue could determine a lot this year. Toney Douglas was also up and down in 2011, but has the starting role for now. However, with Mike Bibby and Baron Davis waiting in the wings, he should have a short leash.

Bibby and Baron are total X-factors. Bibby is a huge defensive liability but if he could hit the 3 and provide veteran leadership, he will be a worthwhile acquisition. There’s a lot of hype for Baron amongst Knicks fans, but there’s good reason to be skeptical. Let’s just see if his back heals and he, uh, avoids the many fine restaurants New York has to offer. There’s no doubt he could feed off the crowd at the Garden but the Knicks might want to consider signing Jenny Craig to the midlevel exception to help him get back into playing shape.

The rest of the team has looked solid in the preseason. Iman Shumpert seems like he can really play and Jorts Harrellson can put in a few minutes a night to get boards, play D, be the Knicks’ token white guy, and make an occasional 3. Bill Walker and Jared Jeffries are also back and will be a part of the rotation if they can play as well as they did in the playoffs. Even Renaldo Balkman looked impressive and could be called upon in the condensed schedule to bring energy off the bench.

But there’s only one question that Knicks fans want answered: are these improvements enough to help the Knicks win the Championship? With the crazy schedule, there’s too many moving parts to predict. Will Amar’e rest at the expense of a victory or two? What will Baron bring to the table? Will the Knicks be able to sign anybody coming back from China? Can you imagine Wilson Chandler coming back or Aaron Brooks or Kenyon Martin solidifying the Knicks for a playoff run?

The team hasn’t shied away from the Championship talk, and they shouldn’t. As we learned in 1999, anything can happen in a shortened season. With relatively young legs compared to the Celtics, the Knicks have to be considered favorites to win the Atlantic Division for the first time since 1994. If they can stay healthy and Coach D’Antoni manages the minutes correctly, this should be the first year in a while the Knicks will seriously contend for the Eastern Conference.

Projected finish: 44-22, first in Atlantic Division, second in Eastern Conference

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It’s the end of the year so let’s look back at some of the best moments in The Suite (and give Stone a break). This was originally published in the early morning hours of February 22 after the Knicks acquired Carmelo Anthony. Witness the birth of the Slutty Bartender Theory.

I went to Joshua Tree on 3rd Ave. on Sunday night (President’s Day FTW). One of the bartenders there was as sloppy as it gets. Big tits with a tight shirt, thong hanging out. She knew what she was doing when she was bending down. Every time you ordered a drink from her, she flirted so hard you expected her to take you into the bathroom in exchange for a tip. Every guy knows what I’m talking about.

As hot as she was, though, I got to thinking what I would have to go through to hook up with her. Even after seeing her shake her ass at every guy at the bar, I couldn’t say no when she asked me if I wanted another drink. How much money would I spend and how much of her slut antics would I put up with?

The Knicks finally acquired Carmelo Anthony on Monday night and it played out like the guy making a move for the slutty bartender. In the end, they bought plenty of drinks: Danilo Galinari, Wilson Chandler, Ray Felton, Timmy Mozgov, Anthony Randolph, Eddy Curry, a first-round draft pick, two second-round draft picks, and $3 million. It’s frustrating because it seems like they’re giving up a lot and maybe they didn’t need to. I think that as Knicks fans, it’s hard to say goodbye because these players were likable and it was fun to see them grow particularly after that horrid stretch from 2005-2007. The team is 28-26, though. They weren’t exactly setting the world on fire. Wilson Chandler is a restricted free agent at the end of the season and was unlikely to come back. Gallo had an extra year on his contract but it would have been tough to keep him when he became a free agent as well. Mozgov is a project. Ray Felton played great but has been struggling with injuries. Chauncey Billups will be a better replacement despite being on his last legs.

This girl is definitely going home with someone. The Russian guy at the end of the bar was ordering vodka tonics and telling her about his Jet Ski and some douche from LA wearing shades was circling. The Knicks are cooler but those guys made them step up. She’s not going home with the Knicks just because there’s nobody else there, but it’s a lot easier to persuade a girl to go to Midtown than Jersey or Brooklyn. They tried to play it cool and wait till closing time but their buddy in a band with the rich dad kept prodding them to buy more drinks and go for it right now. If the Knicks couldn’t seal the deal, he might start hanging out with his friend from Detroit a lot more. So they bought a couple extra rounds of shots and soon the chick was stumbling into a taxi.

If the Knicks didn’t make a move, maybe they make the second round of the playoffs, but without serious reinforcements would they ever contend? There’s no telling how long Amar’e is going to be playing as well as he is. Melo’s a top-15 player in the league and he makes the Knicks potentially greater than they would be with anyone they traded away. Melo is battle-tested. He’s played in 45 career playoff games in the significantly harder West. He’ll be ready to go up against the Bulls in the first round and won’t be afraid of the Heat, Celtics, and Magic.

It’s clear now that Melo wasn’t going to wait to become a free agent. The free agent class of 2012 is loaded but it’s so far away. The only players the Knicks have under contract for 2012-2013 are Amar’e, Melo, and Renaldo Balkman for about $45 million. Depending on the new CBA, they should still have some flexibility. This was really the Knicks’ one chance to get any game-changer until then and nobody knows what the new Collective Bargaining Agreement will bring. There may be franchise tags or a hard cap. You can bring the slutty bartender home and she might be a dude, but it’s worth the risk.

Ultimately, Amar’e and Carmelo are the cornerstones of this team. Their games do not complement each other, but they are gamers and maturing into leaders. Coach D is smart and will help them figure it out. All three of them have something to prove. Carmelo is coming to New York to show that this entire hassle was worth it. He and Amar’e need to rally the team around them and make a commitment to defense and rebounding. We all know they’re going to score. A lot. It’s how they do the other things that will make all the difference.

With a upgraded starting lineup but short bench, it’s going to be tough for the Knicks to contend for a title as currently constructed. However, the NBA is a superstar-driven league and now they have two. THE KEY IS THAT THE KNICKS HAVE TWO SUPERSTARS. The second- and sixth-leading scorers in the NBA are on the Knicks. You got the slutty bartender home before some other prick could swoop in and take her. What else can you ask for? You may have spent a ton of cash and lost some of your dignity but you had a hell of a night. The important thing is that you got her home. And if one day a girl from New Orleans, a bitchy Mormon, or a tall chick dressed as Superman want to join the fun, you’re right up there with the best of the best.

My slutty bartender didn’t have such a great night as the Knicks’ girl. After they started playing “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” she tried to climb onto the bar and fell backwards into a mirror. She was helped away by a bouncer. I guess now I know what it’s like to be a Grizzlies fan.

Trivia Time: Tyson Chandler

Posted: December 11, 2011 by Keith Stone in basketball, Knicks, NBA, trivia, Tyson Chandler

Seemingly out of nowhere, Tyson Chandler is a member of the Knicks. The team had him ranked as their top free agent, but didn’t think it could get him. Luckily, he values winning more over money and he looks good in orange and blue. I was actually at the 2001 NBA Draft, where Tyson was drafted by the Clippers and immediately traded to the Bulls to start his career in Chicago alongside the immortal Eddy Curry. I remember thinking he must be good considering who the Bulls gave up. That brings us to our Question of the Week. Get it right and you won’t be amnestied. The answer, as always, is after the jump.

Who did the Bulls trade to acquire Tyson Chandler? (and a hint: it was not Luc Longley)

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The Real Big Three

Posted: November 28, 2011 by Keith Stone in Amar'e, basketball, Knicks, Melo, NBA, Sesame Street


During the lockout, Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony made a little trip to Sesame Street to chill with their buddy Grover and talk about the word “compare.” Melo was a little stiff but still turned in a better performance than the last video he filmed in the hood. At least he has that whole smiling thing down. Amar’e, on the other hand, has the makings of a young Idris Elba. As for Grover, the Nets might look to give him a $35 million contract after this performance.

What Could Have Been

Posted: November 2, 2011 by Keith Stone in basketball, Knicks, Miami Heat, NBA, NBA lockout


Tonight should have been Opening Night for the Knicks. Their game against the Heat would have been an epic matchup, but it was cancelled as part of the NBA lockout. I’m pissed. Hopefully everybody is pissed. I won’t pretend to be an expert and make suggestions on how to solve all the economic problems the NBA has. I just think the two sides should compromise and come up with a 1- or 2-year bridge agreement while they come up with a permanent solution. Everyone is losing more money by missing games than making a bad deal. For now, all we have is memories from last year. But hey, when they involve Amar’e beasting over Queen James in the clutch, things aren’t so bad (until they cancel the Christmas games).

Throwback: The First Lockout

Posted: October 12, 2011 by Keith Stone in basketball, Knicks, NBA, NBA lockout, Throwback, videos


The NBA lockout has officially caused the cancellation of the first 100 games of the upcoming season. I’m pissed and hopefully all the basketball fans out there are too. If we make enough noise, you have to believe that it will all get settled sooner rather than later. Of course, that’s assuming that the owners and players are rational, which they rarely are. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo wrote a good article about Commissioner Stern’s role in the proceedings. It’s worth a read.

The lockout of 1998-99 also sucked but the shortened season resulted in the Knicks going on one of the wildest playoff runs ever. With last second heroics ranging from improbable to miraculous, it was the one good thing to come out of the lockout. Here’s hoping something similar happens this time.


Melo For NBA Players’ Union President

Posted: September 2, 2011 by Keith Stone in basketball, Knicks, Melo, NBA, NBA lockout

Carmelo Anthony isn’t a genius. Fuck, he only went to college for a year but he said something smart on Tuesday that’s better than anything else that’s come out about the lockout. Melo said, “Just let us play and continue to negotiate. That’s what we say.” Hell yes. Can I get a “Let them play” chant? He added, “I want a deal done, we all want a deal done. We just want it to be fair for both parties. We want to play basketball at the end of the day. We don’t care about none of that other stuff. They could settle that; just let us play and continue to negotiate.”

I’m glad somebody has the right attitude. It’s not going to be as easy as “Let’s keep playing and negotiating” but at least Melo cares more about money and pride. The new deal most likely won’t make either side too happy. Tough shit. The economy sucks. Move forward and get this season started on time.

ESPN