The Damian Lillard Debate

Knicks fans are very split about whether to trade for Damian Lillard. Let’s preface this with the fact that as of today he’s not even available and Portland would never trade him unless he demanded a trade. So all discussion about a hypothetical Lillard trade is based on the assumption that he will do this (again, no evidence that he will).

Let’s start with what it would take for this trade to even happen. Portland would definitely want RJ Barrett plus some combination of Robinson, Toppin, or Quickley. Plus both of this years firsts, a 2023 first, and probably one or two pick swaps. That’s based on the Jrue Holiday trade and Lillard has more value than Holiday.

It should also be noted that Lillard is on his way to the Tokyo Olympics. Will a trade for Damian cost even more if Lillard dominates on his way to Olympic gold? Side note, team USA is favored to win gold. Odds are listed at -305. If you want to take advantage of the odds and you’re located in NY, you can go to a physical retailer to make a bet. You just can’t do it online. Though, the State could see a launch for online platforms later this year or early 2022. At the moment, the total revenue of bets placed via retailers in New York is $28 million. Once online platforms launch, that number will soar.

The debate for doing this trade is that Lillard is an elite player and you don’t win championships without one. Agreed on that point, but you also don’t win championships with a super thin roster. If the Knicks traded Barrett and Robinson they’d have Lillard, Randle, Toppin, Quickley, Knox, Vildoza, and Pelle. Oh and they’re STILL PAYING JOAKIM NOAH 6.4 million next year. Lillard makes over $43 Milliion next season. That would mean the Knicks would have about $30 million to fill out the rest of the roster. That’s probably not even enough money to retain Rose, Burks, Bullock, and Noel. They could decide not to bring any of them back and sign another big free agent, but unless the Knicks are getting Paul or Leonard the free agency pool is pretty thin. Maybe the Knicks sign Oubre and use a few bird rights to go over the cap and sign a few vet minimum contracts. Lillard, Quickley, Oubre, Randle, Noah…..Does that make them a contender? Does that make them even a top 5 team in the east? They’d be locked into that roster with no draft picks and very few young assets.

On the other hand what’s the path to a championship without making a big trade? Probably trying to package both is this years firsts to move up and maybe draft James Bouknight. Barrett, Robinson, and Quickley should all improve next year, and Randle is already in the gym working on his game. They have a lot of cap space and can make a few mid level free agency signings. Just like in the above scenario the Knicks would probably still be 5th in the east, but they’d have a lot more flexibility and young prospects to improve in the future.

So what would you bet the Knicks do? Which path would you like them to take? Once online platforms launch, that number will soar. I’m hoping the Knicks stay the course and not try to put their entire hopes on one player.

Celebrating This Season

As the season winds down it’s good to remember that no matter what happens the rest of the way we should embrace what a pleasant surprise this season has been. The Knicks were picked by just about everyone to be the worst team in the league (including us). The team’s odds to make the playoffs were last seen (April 28th) at a favorable -1500 but it looks to have been removed now. However, they are a lock for the play-in tournament at +600.

Even if the Knicks fell to the play-in game and lost twice it’s still been a great ride. We’ve been through so much as Knicks fans over the 7 year playoff drought. Seven head coaches, three of the top five worst seasons in franchise history, Bargnani, fat Felton, hungover JR, Phil Jackson, Noah’s insane contract, the Porzingis drama; injuries; and trade, drafting Kevin Knox, never having a starting caliber point guard to the point where we tried to talk ourselves into point Hezonja…

This was all in the last 7 years and I could go on and on. So let’s all enjoy this moment and enjoy the fact that for the first time in a long time the Knicks are good and have the foundation to be good in the future as well.

Alan Hahn and his defense of Rachel Nichols

Guest post by JB from The Knicks Finest Podcast

I love Love LOVE Alan Hahn. He’s been my #1 media personality for at least 10yrs+. At least. I can’t tell you how many times I hear a take of his and I’m like “dammit man, I just said that yesterday” or “the day before” or whatever. For example, the first time I heard him use the word “unlocks” referring to a point guard creating opportunities for another player, I had recently used that word in my podcast “The Knicks Finest Podcast” (shameless plug) just a few days earlier. I am usually on the same page with my Knicks media hero but unfortunately, I just can’t rock with him on this one.

Alan Hahn and Rachel Nichols

This passed Tuesday , March 9th (RIP Biggie), Hahn went live on his Facebook page, “The Knicks Fix”, as he often does to chop it up with his followers, known as ‘the fixers’, of which I am proudly one. He had a “family meeting”, a conversation where he proceeded to try to get Knicks fans to take it easy on Rachel Nichols of ESPN, a friend and colleague of his. Now Rachel Nichols is notoriously known in the Knicks fanbase as a high-profile troll with a national, if not international, platform. She seemingly never lets an opportunity go by where she can jab and poke fun of the Knicks’ struggles as we suffer through year after year of dysfunction in our front office. Now I don’t know how hard on Rachel the people were but let me say first and foremost that this is basketball. It’s entertainment. It’s for fun. I do not condone any personal disrespect, misogyny or any form of hate at all. Rachel Nichols did not just fill out an application online and get the job. She is where she is because of hard work, persistence, sacrifice and fearless risk. She has worked her way to the top in a “mans” business and overcame the odds, obstacles and opposition to be where she is today. I respect that immensely. With that said, Alan, please spare me the straw man fallacy in the video and allow me to explain my position as a Knicks fan for over 35years.

Rachel Nichols has trolled the Knicks and kicked us when we were down for too long. There’s a difference between calling it like you see it and flat out trolling. Were the Knicks horribly mismanaged over the years? Absolutely. Were they a losing franchise because of it? Yes. Did Dolan and management care? You would be a liar to say no. The Knicks have taken risks and made decisions over the years that didn’t work out. Fine. The Knicks missed on some draft picks. So did everyone else. We deserve our fair share of clowning but to initiate it and ke-ke it up with rivals like Paul Pierce, Scottie Pippen and Richard Jefferson among others? Come on. You must know the losing won’t last forever but you bet against everything the Knicks do.  So, finally, it looks like Dolan did something right and hired the right people. It shows on the court and the city is getting hopeful and excited again and now you’re telling us she liked us all along and her husband is a NYK fan? Now? We’re hearing of this now? If I knew that when she was crapping on us, that would’ve helped me know where it was coming from. I’ve heard Stephen A Smith criticize the Knicks too. It even became a thing on ESPN to get his take on whatever the Knicks’ transaction was. I don’t remember the last draft pick (other than RJ Barrett) SAS liked, but we always knew where his frustrations came from. I’ve heard Kenny Smith criticize but he always keeps it professional. He beat us in the finals and yet you can tell he wants his hometown Knicks to do well still. As you referenced, he said his son hasn’t seen the Knicks be good. It’s true and we accept it and know it’s not an insult or a joke because we know Kenny. Alan Hahn, you yourself criticized the Knicks over the years but your fandom will never be in question. You are one of our own. We always knew what it was with those guys and others but now Rachel gets a pass because she was a low-key fan all along? Did you say she had passion?  Nah brother, miss me with that one. Truthfully, looking at the 2nd half of the schedule, barring a significant roster addition, odds are against the Knicks doing well and getting in the playoffs. If they fall, let’s see if that passion is still there.

Trust me, it’s not that I’m being sensitive, it’s just that the trolling was so unsolicited. She made fun of Knick fans for being Knick fans and encouraged others to do the same when her focus should’ve been to attack the front office and show empathy once in a while, you know, if she had passion for the team. She and Max Kellerman are on their own, and trust we see the whole “I was just talking about Dolan” explanation on the horizon with Kellerman with every Knicks’ win. He does the same thing. Make fun of fans because of management. Michael Rappaport will be welcomed back because we understand why he left. When the Knicks get good, he can come home. He’s a lifer. We’ll bust his balls a little but he’s family. We get it. See, Rappaport crapped on the Knicks too, but we knew what it was.

 Before anyone gets excited, I don’t speak for every Knicks fan, I’m just telling you how it is. Do I want the media to talk positively about us, of course I do. I’ve been waiting for that for years, but honestly, I want to leave media no choice other than to speak positively about us. I want to make Rachel have to do it because of our success because when we’re good, she’ll need us more than we need her, and honestly this looks like preemptive positioning for that time. Knicks fans have been waiting a long time to be talked about positively by media, not just Rachel Nichols or the trolls who made fun of us fans. We’re not looking to be accepted by the dumb jocks and cheerleaders at the cool table. We’re trying to make our table the cool table again.

Listen, I’ll never question Hahn’s credibility, validity etc. and I’ll always be a fixer, but this just looks like Hahn looking out for his friend and she’s going to have to lay in the bed she made. I don’t think you’ll ever endear the fans towards Rachel Nichols. I can’t lie, you do hold a lot of weight. Let’s see what happens.

What Are the Odds the Knicks Make the Playoffs Under Thibodeau?

The Knicks have officially hired Tom Thibodeau as their head coach. He got a 5 year deal, but this is the Knicks so lets be realistic and say he’ll be coach for at least the next two years. The Knicks will also most likely be getting Mike Woodson as their assistant coach. He happened to be the coach the last time the Knicks made the playoffs. That got me thinking, what are the odds the Knicks make the playoffs under Tom Thibodeau?

First lets take a look at what happened last year. The Knicks entered the 2019-20 season with +575 odds, on average, to reach the postseason. They finished the abbreviated regular season with the fourth-worst point differential in the league and the lowest ELO rating at FiveThirtyEight.  There is every reason to expect NY’s odds to make the 2021 playoffs to open at roughly the same number, i.e. in the +550 to +600 range. That would mean oddsmakers are giving them about a 12-15% chance. Once the current season ends in a few months, there should be early odds available for next season. The NBA section at Sports Betting Dime should have updated content by then so you’ll be able to check on the 2020-21 season.

Of course those odds were with Hornacek as coach and the Knicks now have a real actual basketball coaching staff. Now that the Knicks have the coach settled it’s time to look at the roster. It looks like Payton and Portis are gone. Payton was the Knicks best (only?) point guard last season. This means the Knicks point guard rotation will probably look something like whatever rookie they draft, Smith Jr., and Frank. Unless that draft pick is immediately good this can get messy. Of course the Knicks will have a ton of cap space if they don’t pick up a few team options but there doesn’t seem to be a quick fix on the market currently.

For arguments sake lets say everything works out, the draft pick is great, Frank, Knox, and Robinson all take a leap, and they find a free agent that makes them a little better. The next question is; is there room for the Knicks in the playoff picture? Milwaukee, Toronto, Boston, Philly, Miami and Indiana are virtual locks, and the Nets will most likely be there too. That means the Knicks would have to pass Charlotte, Washington, Orlando, and Chicago while staying ahead of Detroit and Atlanta who both will probably be better than last season.  A lot can change between now and December but as of now I’d say a 12-15% chance at making the playoffs seems a little high.

New York’s Offense and the Erasing of the Fizdale Effect

David Fizdale seen here mimicking everyone watching the game.

Written by: Austin Snyder

In order to fully understand the following jumble of words about America’s favorite target for uninformed sports opinions some backstory is needed. The enigma at the center of the story? David Fizdale (finally, a twist worthy of Stephen A. Smith). The general consensus about the Fizdale hiring from those who, like myself, actually pay attention to the Knicks is that Fizdale was brought in with the sole intention of being a lure for Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving and was probably never thought to be a solid choice to lead a team on a complete rebuild. So why does it matter?

Anyone who watched the Knicks with Fizdale at the helm would have been hard pressed not to notice the lack of an offensive system (or defensive one for that matter) under his guidance. Instead, the most valuable franchise in the NBA, worth an excess of four billion dollars, sported an offense reminiscent of watching my 7 year old nephew’s elementary school games on a nightly basis. No ball movement, no plays, and certainly no consistency. So why did Fiz ever get the job in the first place?

Continue reading

SPEAKING OF EARNING IT….

Image result for fizdale

(GUEST POST) Ok, here’s my issue. I’m reading and hearing from a lot of Knicks fans that they want to fire Fizdale. Though I do agree that the Knicks record is entirely his fault, I don’t think firing him now is the answer. It would be a terrible reset on an already set back season, plus the management turnover issue is why we never have an identity or culture. I say stick to the culture that Fizdale set. How? Good question. Fiz has established the culture that this year nothing will be given, everything earned. You want playing time? Earn it! Continue reading

Episode 464: The Basketball Gods Hate US/Draft Lottery

Jay is off doing god knows what in Asia so Marc is joined by resident strong man and huge Knicks fan, Dustin. Dustin knows the draft lottery results but Marc does not. We talk draft lottery results, who the Knicks should take and NBA playoffs.

Episode 464

Episode 457: HAHA! Hezonja > Lebron

Jay is off somewhere battling CPA demons so friend of the show Dustin joins Marc for a fun conversation about the almighty Hezonja, the sad, sad Lebron, the draft, free agency and everything else Knicks we could think of.

Download Episode 457 

Top 4 Trade Proposals from Episode 447

In Episode 447 we proposed 29 trade scenarios involving the Knicks, one for each team in the NBA. Not all of them were great, but Marc and Jay each proposed three scenarios that we agreed were pretty interesting and would work for both teams.  In no particular order here are the 4 proposals:

#1 – The Knicks received Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier for Enes Kanter and Tim Hardaway Jr. 

The Celtics do this if they get paranoid about Haywards health and Roziers regression and want to clear up a lot of cap space, the Knicks do this if they think Hayward bounces back next season and think Rozier might look better in a new situation.

#2 – The Knicks receive Klay Thompson for Tim Hardaway Jr., Frank Ntilikina, and Mitchell Robinson

The trade machine says the Knicks only get 1 game better, but if I were a betting man I’d guess the Knicks would be way better after this trade. Of course the only way the Warriors do this is if Klay says he’s definitely leaving and wants to be in NY.

#3 – Knicks get Ben Simmons and T.J. McConnell for Kristaps Porzingis and Emmanuel Mudiay

Too many ball handlers on the 76ers right now with Butler and Embiid, and Simmons seems like the odd man out. He can be the man in NY and Philly can have a front court of Porzingis and Embiid for a decade.

#4 – Knicks get Pau Gasol and Rudy Gay for Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee

The Spurs do this because they are in win now mode and this makes them better. The Knicks do this to clear up a bunch of cap space over the next two years.

Knicks Beat Bullets (okay, Wizards) in OT 124-121 (go back to harry pottersville)

Image result for knicks

Mets started their season off 11-1 before becoming a goddamn laughing stock. The Jets had a huge opening night before crashing back to earth. I hope the Knicks didn’t peak tonight (peaking in preseason would be especially cruel).

It’s nice that the Knicks could actually win in OT which has not exactly been their specialty in recent memory and it was especially fun to see them do it with the 3rd string guys. Who knows how much the Wizards cared about winning but whatever, this was a fun way to kick things off. Here are my observations: Continue reading