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Thread: As N.B.A. Faces Change, Knicks Will Face Limits

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    Veteran LJ4ptplay's Avatar
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    Default As N.B.A. Faces Change, Knicks Will Face Limits

    As N.B.A. Faces Change, Knicks Will Face Limits

    By HOWARD BECK
    Published: June 6, 2011


    There may be 40 million ways to spend $40 million on an N.B.A. roster. To appreciate the challenge facing Donnie Walsh’s successor, start by considering that heady sum, and two recent spending plans.

    When Walsh became the Knicks’ president in 2008, the franchise had about $40 million a year tied up in Stephon Marbury, Eddy Curry and Jamal Crawford.

    When the next Knicks president is hired, he will inherit a roster with about $40 million a year tied up in Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony.

    In N.B.A. math, the job just got a thousand times easier. Easier, but not without its own stark challenges.

    As Walsh noted last week in announcing his decision to step down, “we have the stars” required to be respectable. “They will do what they do, and we’re lucky to have them,” he said. But, he noted, “You need more than that” to contend for championships.

    The proof is in the playoffs, where each conference finalist had invaluable supporting players: Joakim Noah and Luol Deng in Chicago, Serge Ibaka and Thabo Sefolosha in Oklahoma City, Tyson Chandler and Shawn Marion in Dallas, Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller in Miami.

    They are not stars, but they are indispensable in a title chase — the players who “fill in the blanks,” as Walsh said — setting hard screens, pouncing on loose balls, hitting timely jumpers, guarding top scorers, challenging shots in the paint. The great teams have such players in abundance. The Knicks have a dearth of them.

    “That’s the job now,” Walsh said.

    This is where that $40 million becomes a daunting figure. The N.B.A.’s salary cap this season was $58.5 million, and every indication is that it will decrease in the next collective bargaining agreement. It might not be as low as the $45 million that the owners want, but it is probably heading in that direction.

    A $50 million cap would leave the Knicks with less than $7 million in cap room in 2012, when they will have $43 million committed to just four players: Stoudemire, Anthony, Toney Douglas and Renaldo Balkman. Even if the cap remained closer to $58 million, the Knicks would have only $15 million to spend, and nine roster spots to fill (current rules require 13 players).

    If N.B.A. owners win their battle to roll back current contracts, then the math changes. The $40 million committed to Anthony and Stoudemire could theoretically be reduced to a more manageable $30 million, or $25 million. But that is far from a given. The players union would sooner cancel the season than give back hundreds of millions in signed contracts.

    The owners also want a hard salary cap — i.e., an absolute payroll ceiling with no cap “exceptions” — to replace the soft-cap model.

    Now consider the Knicks’ extensive list of needs: a defensive-minded center, a starting-caliber shooting guard, a point guard to replace the aging Chauncey Billups (whose contract expires in 2012) and a power forward to spell Stoudemire, at the very least. The draft will be of little help; the Knicks have no first-round picks in 2012 and 2014, and they will be drafting low when they do have a pick.

    This is not a caretaker job despite the presence of two All-Star forwards.

    Walsh made the bold moves — gutting the payroll, signing Stoudemire and accumulating the assets that were parlayed into Anthony. The next general manager will benefit from Walsh’s work. But he will also be handicapped by a lack of midrange talent, draft picks and payroll flexibility.

    The next general manager will have to be creative, clever and savvy when it comes to manipulating the new salary-cap structure, whatever form it takes.

    In Miami last summer, LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade accepted below-maximum salaries to make room for Miller and Haslem — who also took below-market deals to join the Heat. The Knicks do not have that luxury, because Stoudemire and Anthony are already locked in long term (the N.B.A. does not allow renegotiations).

    Will top-tier role players take less money to join Anthony and Stoudemire in New York? That remains to be seen, but the list of players who have taken discounted contracts in the last 10 years is very short.

    Miami has been able to overcome its lack of depth because Wade and James are also elite defenders and selfless playmakers. Stoudemire and Anthony are not.

    The new collective bargaining agreement, which will be in place for next season, could also undermine one of the Knicks’ greatest assets: James L. Dolan’s bank account. For all of his documented faults, Dolan, the Madison Square Garden chairman, has been a free-spending owner. The Knicks have been among the leaders in payroll and luxury-tax payments for more than a decade. But generosity would be irrelevant in a hard-cap system.

    This entire discussion must, of course, be couched in asterisks and ifs. No one can predict what the new system will look like. But it will be different, perhaps drastically so. And it will make the challenge for the next Knicks general manager almost as daunting as the one Walsh had three years ago.

    “I think I did the first step,” Walsh said. “But there are more steps to go.”

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    Superstar jzero29's Avatar
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    Default tough times to overcome miami

    tough times ahead to overcome miami...adios chris paul, deron williams, howard. no big 3 in ny...but hopefully a couple good role players will magically appear in ny.

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    i read this article in the morning as well. and it got me wondering about melo and stat. how much pressure can we put on our new gm whoever he is to build us a championship team when/if the cap comes way down? his hands will be tied. we can talk about how melo is ours and how stat embraced ny, but theres a part of me that doesnt believe that winning is the most important thing to them. the money is .
    with lebron, he has to win, period. he has no choice. even more than malone and barkley and ewing, if lebron doesnt win before his career is over, it'll be the biggest career disappointment of any superstar, ever. now im not saying they (wade, bosh, james) took huge paycuts but they did sacrifice, from number of shots, to being the #1 player to the 1.5million or something like that , each one gave up on their respective contracts.
    if melo gave up a couple mil a year, and made 56 mil instead of 60, it might have gone a long way in helping us obtain the pieces we'll need to get to a championship level

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    Veteran Wargames's Avatar
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    I've been saying this for a while but there are a few signs of what the knicks plan to do.

    1) even though the media says this is a weak draft what they should say its weak in clear cut stars. It is full if NBA level talent. If the knicks buy picks that will help offset some of this.

    2) if the amnesty rule everyone expects happens. We can probably pick a few release vets up for cheap.

    3) Home team discounts maybe....Wilson? Gallo?

    4) D league gems have worked for us before and can help us again.

    5) Trading players with inflated stats for more reliable roleplayers (its what Mike D does)

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    Evacuee Crazy⑧s's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Wargames
    I've been saying this for a while but there are a few signs of what the knicks plan to do.

    1) even though the media says this is a weak draft what they should say its weak in clear cut stars. It is full if NBA level talent. If the knicks buy picks that will help offset some of this.

    2) if the amnesty rule everyone expects happens. We can probably pick a few release vets up for cheap.

    3) Home team discounts maybe....Wilson? Gallo?

    4) D league gems have worked for us before and can help us again.

    5) Trading players with inflated stats for more reliable roleplayers (its what Mike D does)
    What is this amnesty rule, my friend?

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    Superstar nuckles2k2's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Crazy⑧s
    What is this amnesty rule, my friend?
    Buying out one contract with no penalty to the cap.

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    Default Howard Beck's Article

    Beck's article is essentially what LJ4ptPlay, particularly, has been preaching for some time. Does anyone still believe that we are going to get CP3 or Howard when they become free agents?

    I also agree with Wargames' suggestion that though there are no clear stars in this draft, there might be several diamonds in the rough. I hope we buy some picks. I am even willing to trade Douglas, Turiaf or Fields for prospects even though they may be risks. We desperately need a defensive 5.

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    Hannibal Lecter TR1LL10N's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by nuckles2k2
    Buying out one contract with no penalty to the cap.
    Any player? Could we feasibly put Melo to the test and offere him a buyout and resign him to a more manageable long-term deal?

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    Superstar nuckles2k2's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by TR1LL10N
    Any player? Could we feasibly put Melo to the test and offere him a buyout and resign him to a more manageable long-term deal?
    Yea, any player...but, in 2005 when they had amnesty for luxury tax relief, the player's who's contract was brought out couldn't resign with that team for the life of the terminated contract.

    I dunno if that's the same stipulation they'd have for this new amnesty clause, but you can probably bet that they'd have some provision in place to protect against teams basically restructuring a deal (buyout then immediate resign.)

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    Hannibal Lecter TR1LL10N's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by nuckles2k2
    Yea, any player...but, in 2005 when they had amnesty for luxury tax relief, the player's who's contract was brought out couldn't resign with that team for the life of the terminated contract.

    I dunno if that's the same stipulation they'd have for this new amnesty clause, but you can probably bet that they'd have some provision in place to protect against teams basically restructuring a deal (buyout then immediate resign.)
    True but I don't see how any deal gets done that drastically lowers cap without someway of restructuring or rolling back deals.

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    Member ducktales17's Avatar
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    I read this article...... and realized......

    wait, this is all **** i've already read a thousand times.

    No offense, but **** constantly worrying about the cap.

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    Veteran Wargames's Avatar
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    Question Mark

    Robin Lopez was mentioned and he makes sense just because he played great with Amare but is 3rd in the Suns C rotation (that is where he's belonged since he has played horribly since Amare left).

    If we draft another project big in the second and send him to Europe for a year that would leave us with lopez, turiaf, and Jordan. If Lopez and Jordan do well we could trade turiafs expiring or keep him and resign him for cheaper.

    I hope we draft brooks if he falls to us as well since his skill set could be a deadly piece for a team like the bulls going forward. As much as we have needs I feel denying the bulls the sg who can reliably create his own shot is something to be considered.

    Also stern know his hard cap demands that max players will rollback their salary. He might get it though because the players union made up of the normal non star vets have no problem throwimg max salary players and rookie under the bus. They'be done it before.

  13. #13
    Superstar nuckles2k2's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by TR1LL10N
    True but I don't see how any deal gets done that drastically lowers cap without someway of restructuring or rolling back deals.
    Yea, that's why I could see a compromise that lowers the cap but not to the extent where contracts get rolled back by large amounts. The Players' Association would give KG and Delonte M16s and send them to the league offices before they let owners start dipping their hands into the players pockets and taking back millions.

    Or they could actually increase the cap a bit and make it a hard cap, that way owners don't "F" themselves in the "A" with all of these exceptions that allows them to spend money they actually don't want to spend. But if they do that then certain percentages of contracts will have to be guaranteed and other parts non-guaranteed so teams can maneuver under the hard cap. There might be a compromise to be had somewhere in there, and maybe that's where the ability to restructure deals come into play. It's easier to come to a player and restructure his deal for more guaranteed money up front, or in total...but that allows players under contract to hold out during training camp, cause they "can't feed their families" and ****.

    But if the cap goes up slightly, or stays at about $58M, and it becomes a hard cap, there's probably no amnesty.

    In my opinion, the cap doesn't get drastically lowered. It might get proposed by the league & owners again, but the players association doesn't take that deal, no way. Weak organizations (financially) like the T'wolves and Kings, can't go a full calendar year without basketball...a deal will get done and the Knicks might have an outside chance at still, somehow, getting one more big name. Stern has some incentives to make sure that these superteams are possible since they rake in so much coin for the league.

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    Originally Posted by nuckles2k2
    Yea, that's why I could see a compromise that lowers the cap but not to the extent where contracts get rolled back by large amounts. The Players' Association would give KG and Delonte M16s and send them to the league offices before they let owners start dipping their hands into the players pockets and taking back millions.

    Or they could actually increase the cap a bit and make it a hard cap, that way owners don't "F" themselves in the "A" with all of these exceptions that allows them to spend money they actually don't want to spend. But if they do that then certain percentages of contracts will have to be guaranteed and other parts non-guaranteed so teams can maneuver under the hard cap. There might be a compromise to be had somewhere in there, and maybe that's where the ability to restructure deals come into play. It's easier to come to a player and restructure his deal for more guaranteed money up front, or in total...but that allows players under contract to hold out during training camp, cause they "can't feed their families" and ****.

    But if the cap goes up slightly, or stays at about $58M, and it becomes a hard cap, there's probably no amnesty.

    In my opinion, the cap doesn't get drastically lowered. It might get proposed by the league & owners again, but the players association doesn't take that deal, no way. Weak organizations (financially) like the T'wolves and Kings, can't go a full calendar year without basketball...a deal will get done and the Knicks might have an outside chance at still, somehow, getting one more big name. Stern has some incentives to make sure that these superteams are possible since they rake in so much coin for the league.
    There needs to be one more superteam.

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    Prior to the Big 3 joining together in Miami, there was talk of lowering the salary cap, etc...but nobody is stupid enough to lower the salary cap to create a situation where there can only be one superteam. At least, you'd hope not.

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