Knicks shouldn't put all their eggs in LeBron's basket
Kobe Bryant was fresh off his trade demand last spring when the rumors started flying that the Knicks were his preferred destination. New York would certainly accommodate some of Kobe’s needs; big market and big stage.
When he was asked on Wednesday if there were any discussions about any specific team he wanted to be traded to, Kobe said: “No, I don’t remember it being so.”
A deal with the Knicks was never going to happen because the Lakers weren’t about to trade the game’s best player for a package of Jamal Crawford, Renaldo Balkman, David Lee and anyone else the Knicks tried to include. The NBA continues to be a superstar-driven league and when you have a player of Kobe’s caliber, in his prime no less, you don’t just give those players away.
The challenge for Donnie Walsh is to find a franchise player - which is no easy task unless you are Celtics GM Danny Ainge and your good buddy and former teammate, Minnesota’s Kevin McHale, gives you Kevin Garnett. Walsh continues to talk about the summer of 2010 when LeBron James and several other big names will become free agents.
James is a shrewd business man so I think he would consider leaving Cleveland. But he’s also from Ohio and if Cavs management does enough to upgrade the roster over the next few years James may stick around.
A better blueprint for Walsh to follow is what Joe Dumars did in Detroit. He used the draft to select Tayshaun Prince; he traded for Rip Hamilton and took a chance on free agent Chauncey Billups. None of the three are superstars but all three are in the top 10 at their respective positions and Billups went on to become a Finals MVP.
Perhaps it would be worth it for Walsh to take a chance on a sign-and-trade for Gilbert Arenas or even Monta Ellis. Somewhere down the road the Knicks need to make a high-risk, high-reward deal like they did 10 years ago when the team traded for Latrell Sprewell. Waiting for the likes of Kobe and LeBron sounds good but it is not very realistic.
***Larry Brown (remember him) was out of basketball for two straight years after being dismissed by the Knicks and he says he used that time wisely.
“I didn’t like the way it ended,” Brown said of his 23-59 record as Knicks coach. “I didn’t like the job I did in New York. I thought I used these two years productively. Watching other people coach, I learned a lot. I don’t think I would have had the opportunity to learn if I had been working.”
Brown, the new head coach of the Bobcats, named former Knicks assistant coach Dave Hanners to his staff.