27 11 2008

There comes a point in most undertakings in life where it’s time to walk away.  When two (or more) parties are involved, it becomes a little tougher, but the theory remains the same.  Sometimes it’s best to just get the hell outta Dodge.No hearts here...
Kenny Rogers was right smack on the money with his song The Gambler.

“You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table.
There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealin’s done.”

There aren’t many better images than this for where the New York Knicks and Stephon Marbury now find themselves. It’s the classic stare-down. New York doesn’t want to just tell Marbury to get out, and there’s too much money on the table for him to walk away.

At the beginning of the season, the New York Knicks embodied by Donnie Walsh and miscreant...Mike D’Antoni made it abundantly clear to Stephon Marbury that he was in no way, shape or form part of their plans for the future. Fast-forward to now: two massive trades involving guards Jamaal Crawford and Mardy Collins (and forward Zach Randolph) occurred. Then an injury to Nate Robinson… and health concerns for new-Knick Cuttino Mobley – this left the Knicks with only two healthy guards: Chris Duhon and Anthony Roberson. Marbury was told prior to at least two games (against the Bucks, and the Pistons) that if he wanted court-time, it was his for the taking.

Marbury’s response?
No thanks.

Whilst his refusal to have anything to do with the Knicks (other than cash paychecks from them) must be infuriating for the Knicks hierarchy, the implications for Marbury himself are even greater.

It’s easy to understand Marbury’s continued refusal to play. The Knicks made their opinion of him clear, but now that they need him, they turn up on his doorstep cap-in-hand and expect it of him. Most people would have the same reaction: thumb their nose at the arrogance displayed by these people.
But they’d be wrong too.
The powers that be...Aside from the fact that it’s a reasonable request made by the people who give him a very sizable amount of money, it could have repercussions on his career post-Knicks.
There was every possibility that a team would pick up Marbury for a deal once he finished with the Knicks (which could be any day now). But his “no thanks” and refusal to be a part of the team are indicative of an attitude that might end up making him as big a pariah in basketball as Barry Bonds is in baseball.

What should the Knicks do?
Cut their losses and run – they’ll be paying him the money any way. Marbury’s very presence is a cancer. He’s clashed with pretty much every authority figure within the New York office – Larry Brown, Isiah Thomas, and now Mike D’Antoni/Donnie Walsh. This is a man that was once called “the most reviled athlete in New York” (New York Daily News).
It’s well past time for New York to bid Stephon Marbury adieu.
Know when to walk away and know when to run.


A Step In The Right Direction – Walsh Knicked From Pacers

3 04 2008

Whichever spin is put on it, Donnie Walsh was pretty much stolen from the Indiana Pacers by the New York Knicks.
And there will be spin applied.
Count on it.

A donnie deal?For the Knicks, this is undoubtedly a step in the right direction. And if Walsh’s first move is to dump Isiah Thomas as coach, then the Knicks are well on the way to recovery.
And ‘recovery’ it is.
As is said in such programs, the first step to fixing a problem is admitting that it exists. And Isiah ‘exists’ on a level of incompetency that was difficult to imagine before his bungling reign of one of basketball’s premier franchises commenced.
The difficulty has been that for some line of reasoning beyond the ken of mortal man, the team’s owner – James Dolan – is a huge fan of Isiah’s.
With the induction of Walsh as GM, Isiah’s influence on the team is somewhat lessened. Dolan’s man-love of Thomas may go either way at this point, Thomas being sacked as coach might be declared off-limits… but I tend to think that Donnie Walsh allows Dolan an escape clause:

“Hey, I gave Walsh carte blanche with the franchise, and he made this decision.”

Wave bye-bye to Isiah folks. Not before time. If nothing else, Dolan was foolish for not seeing the writing on the wall re. the management skills Thomas possesses post his absolute destruction of the Continental Basketball Association.
Talk about ridiculous.
Isiah bought it for $5 million, the NBA offered him $11 million. He turns it down, and within a very short time frame, it’s dead in the water.
Rumors that did abound of Thomas intentionally running the league into the ground to make way for the NBA-owned NBDL lack credibility, for if that were the case, Thomas would’ve just sold the league to the Association.

Even whilst at the Pacers – where some credit him with doing a fairly good job coaching – a charge of mismanagement is more easily understood: in 2003 even with a talent-laden roster, the 3rd seeded Indiana lost to the 6th seeded Boston Smilin’ Assassin… soon to be ‘assassinated’?Celtics in the first round. Perhaps the best thing Larry Bird did in the front office of Indiana was to sack Isiah Thomas.

And ‘mismanagement’ is the key phrase for his tenure at the Knicks. Or perhaps ‘deluded’.
Even now, after all that he has dragged the New York franchise through, Isiah claims that he believes that he will win a championship with New York, and that he will leave a championship legacy.
Isiah Thomas will indeed leave a legacy at New York. One that will take quite a long time for them to recover from.

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New York Look West?

22 03 2008

Rumours abound that the New York Knicks might be looking Westward for direction… more specifically, Jerry West.

Newsday reports that people close to West have stated that if offered the job, he’d probably take it. One stating,

“It wouldn’t surprise me. He’s such an A-type personality. It’s hard for him to sit on the sidelines and not be involved.”

Jerry WestWest himself hasn’t said anything contrary regarding the possibility, other than he hasn’t officially been asked anything yet by the Knicks, who seem to be focused on Indiana’s Donnie Walsh – should they choose to expel Isiah Thomas.

Newsday’s last line on the article was key:

“I don’t know if I’d do it,” West said. “It would be nice, privately, if somebody had an interest enough to want to talk to you about it. That would be exciting, yes.”

The only sticking point for any of this (and it appears to be the sticking point for Donnie Walsh) is that no matter what happens, James Dolan is still the owner.

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