Tag Archives: larry hughes

The neoprene sleeves on Nate Robinson’s arms and legs significantly limit his wind resistance

Because I promised the Dawg yesterday, KryptoNate goes up top and deposits a sick feed from Chris Duhon in the Knicks’ ultimately disappointing  111-100 loss to the Raptors at the Air Canada Centre yesterday:

Other points on this game, which I had the pleasure of watching with my brothers the day after my nephew’s week-late family birthday party:

  • There were some downright abysmal offensive sets, ameliorated only slightly by significantly worse defensive play. There were probably a half-dozen instances of forward/guard inverts that led to Chris Bosh posting up Larry Hughes, Shawn Marion on Chris Duhon or some such other big-small mismatch. If Bosh was on (just 11 points on 5-14 from the floor, though he did add 12 boards), the Knicks would have gotten run off the court, due in part to …
  • Andrea Bargnani. “Il Mago” tore Dominant Team Pringles apart, which is kind of insane, and on several occasions did so off the dribble, which is CERTIFIABLY insane.  Also, I kind of expected Clyde to mangle the Italian’s really-not-all-that-difficult-to-pronounce name, but to hear Gus Johnson chip in and call him “Barn-yarn-ee” all game was somewhat surprising.  And about Gus …
  • He shortened the “My name is Al Harrington and I get buckets” call after one Baby Al score to a creepy laugh followed by the single word “buckets.”  Like, “Ah ha ha ha HA, buckets.”  We rewound and watched it a few times.  Haven’t found the video yet, but it was legitimately disconcerting.
  • I initially thought Ball Don’t Lie scribe Kelly Dwyer was a little too kind to the Knicks in this morning’s Behind the Box Score, but then I remembered that they’re really not good enough that they should be expected to handle a team like the Raptors on the road. And this point is spot-on:

If the team is going to take that next, unexpected step, it has to start playing perfect games. Or, at least, come a little closer to perfection that what we saw in Toronto on Sunday. There are reasons the Knicks didn’t beat the Raptors, nothing to kill the team over, but it’ll be enough to keep the Knicks out of the postseason if they persist.

Still, though, isn’t it nuts that we’re even discussing things that might “be enough to keep the Knicks out of the postseason if they persist,” and not “the senses-shattering string of miracles that have to take place in an utterly improbable sequence that the Knicks, in defiance of all that is rational and pure, might make the postseason”? That’s kind of nice.

  • Wherefore art thou, Danilo? I think we all expected that importing Chris Wilcox and Larry Hughes would necessitate some changes in the rotation, but I was pretty surprised that Gallinari didn’t see the court at all.  Seth at Posting and Toasting made a nice point: “[I]f there’s anybody whose minutes should be sacrificed, it’s Jared Jeffries.”  I’d take it a step further: Jared Jeffries should be sacrificed.  Like, in a ritual, possibly presided over by a New Orleans-based Haitian Voudou priestess.
  • Speaking of Larry: Off to a great start, champ.

off-to-a-great-start

Mil gracias para el vídeo, Alto Baloncesto.

Putting a bow on a semi-busy, hoops-filled week by revisiting Hogan v. Andre

put-a-bow-on-it

Lotta basketball talk this week, which I suppose was to be expected.  Football’s over, I haven’t really cared about hockey since before the end of the Clinton administration, March Madness isn’t here yet, spring training has only just begun … there really weren’t a whole lot of things more interesting to me than basketball this week.  (Except, of course, F My Life.  Seriously, if you haven’t subscribed to that site’s RSS feed or bookmarked it, you’re blowing it.  It’s a schadenfreude lover’s best friend.)

We kicked the week off with my incredibly optimistic take on Dominant Team Pringles’ prospects for the remainder of 2K9 and the forthcoming NBA Draft.  Of course, they ruined my Devinastradamus prediction of a winless February by besting a Manu-less Spurs squadron, but I think there’s just enough futility in the tank to disappoint us all come playoff time.  In a Tuesday “true or false” question, we used the first poll in this is the city line. history (boundaries breaking, new worlds exploding into view) to ask whether or not Hornets forward David West looks like the guy who played Gunn on Angel. (It was your position that he does.)

We also took a look at the inevitable fail that will be America’s Top Baller, went a long way to make a super-dated Freaks and Geeks reference vis-a-vis the Oklahoma City Thunder’s new mascot, and got way, way, way, way too into the Knicks’ (ultimately not-so-meaningful) trade deadline deals.  And to top things off, a salute to José Guillen for doing something I would never, ever, ever do.  Plus, hit the simple goal of a post a day, and got the fine people at BallHype to add my humble endeavor to their rolls, which is great.  (Can’t wait to see how far down the rankings I am and get a better sense of just how many of you people there are out there.)  All in all, I award this week a +0.5.

What might push things to a full +1.0?  Glad you asked, friend.  Howzabout some Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant videos?

Mil gracias to brother Big Dawg for reminding me earlier this week how important this was to me in 1987 (and 1997, though less so in 2007).  It was neon-highlighter headline news for a husky young Devo, every step of the way.  From the contract signing:

To the epic Wrestlemania III contest:

To the classic Survivor Series ’87 “Team Hogan vs. Team Andre” match, featuring a young, spry Bam Bam Bigelow (rest in peace, sir):

It was all epic, all gargantuan, all the time.  I think I can honestly trace the evolution of my perception of the good/bad ethical spectrum (swear to God, almost wrote “ethnical” — hard-boiled racist Freudian slip much?) from the simple Hogan-face/Andre-heel battle of 1987 (Devine: age 4-5) to the Hogan-face/Warrior-face/what-the-fuck-is-a-young-man-to-do conundrum of 1990 (Devine: age 7-8).  It was flat-out mean of Vince McMahon to make such a fresh-faced, innocent young lad make that decision, but ultimately, he was doing what needed to be done: Weaning me off the notion that decisions about who you back and where you cast your lots in life are going to be easy.

“Sometimes shit’s hard,” Vince said.  “Fucking deal with it, Devine.”

OK, I replied with a sigh, my ample child bosom heaving ‘neath the strain of the decision I faced.

I backed Hogan, who, as we all know, lost.  That sucked, and I’m pretty sure I was super upset.  But I learned something by taking that L: There’s strength to be found in making the choice.

As I revisited a similar dilemma between childlike fandom and cold adult math spurred by the shapeshifting demon Larry Hughes yesterday, I came to a similar decision: I actually came to prefer the notion of the Knicks dealing Robinson and/or Lee if it provided the opportunity to shed the contracts of Curry and/or Jeffries.  Now, neither came to pass, both players stayed, Nate dunked over Biff and Knicks fans breathed a sigh of relief, so it wound up not mattering … except that to me, in some small weird way, it did.  For whatever that’s worth.

Shutting down the office, heading home to shut down my head, heading south for a family party tomorrow. Enjoy your weekends, friends, and as always, thanks for reading.  Be safe out there.

A loathing look back: Basketbawful HATES Larry Hughes

Photo courtesy of Daylife

And Udonis Haslem ain't too big a fan, either. (Photo courtesy of Daylife)

During the research/background/blog hate K-hole I found myself falling through as I prepped today’s first post, I really grew to admire the steadfast disgust that Matt McHale of the genius site Basketbawful (and, newly, of By The Horns) has developed for the poor shooting, selfishness and all-around lack of self-awareness of brand new (but not newest) New York Knick Larry Hughes.  But because adding his numerous fantastic digs at the embattled shooting guard would have pushed my already obnoxiously long therapy session into the “No Stats All-Star” lengthosphere, I decided to clip ‘n’ save them, then allow you to savor their flavor in a single post.

Mmmm.  Tastes like fury.

Dec. 4, 2007: “Fun fact: Larry Hughes, who couldn’t stay healthy if all his human parts were replaced with bionic implants, is out for the next four weeks with a bruised leg. Do you think that Willis Reed ever reads about all these players missing time with bruises and sprained fingers and throws up in his mouth a little?”

Dec. 17, 2007: “Like [LeBron] James, Hughes returned to the Cavs lineup this week and got everybody excited with a 36-point outburst against the Pacers. He then proceeded to shoot 5-for-24 over the next two games, both Cleveland losses.”

Dec. 31, 2007: “And frankly, the game wasn’t really as close as the final margin. Larry Hughes was the team’s biggest loser, scoring 2 points (1-9) and committing 4 turnovers.”

Jan. 23, 2008: “On a night when the rest of his team had it going on, Hughes had one of his typical 2-for-8 shooting nights. And, as noted, one of his two field goals was an uncontested dunk. I can tell you one thing: 33 percent shooting is not what the Cavaliers had in mind when they decided to pay him $12 million a year. Good thing Danny Ferry locked him up through 2009-10!!”

Feb. 19, 2008: “He’s baaaaaack…by which I mean 33 percent shooting (5-for-15).”

Dec. 9, 2008: “Anyway, Drew Gooden scored a season-high 22 points on mostly uncontested shots and Larry Hughes put the Knicks down for good with a dagger three late in the game. Said Hughes: ‘I’m not going to turn them down. It’s going to be one of two things. It’s going to go in or it’s not. As long as it’s a good look and one of my teammates finds me, I’m definitely willing to take the shot.’ So Hughes is willing to take shots?! I can’t believe it! … By the way, [Bulls color commentator Stacy] King is now referring to Hughes as ‘Big Shot Larry.’ Yeah.”

Dec. 14, 2008: “‘Big Shot Larry’ was 3-for-10. Now THAT’S the Larry Hughes we know and mock around here.”

Dec. 29, 2008: “You’ll notice you can’t spell ‘team’ using any combination of the letters in “Larry Hughes.” And with good reason. Hughes was aghast at not starting against the Hawks on Saturday (in place of the injured Luol Deng). Forget the fact that the guy who did start, Thabo Sefolosha, scored 14 points on 6-for-8 shooting to go along with 4 rebounds and 3 assists. That’s not the point. Me, me, me is the point for Hughes. And he let people know about it after the game. ‘I don’t accept it, but I deal with it. I’ve said what I needed to say (to GM John Paxson and coach Vinny Del Negro). Hopefully, it gets better moving forward. If it’s justified, it’s justified. But you can look at whatever you need to look at as far as production. I think it’s in my favor. I’m not a spot-minute guy. I don’t play well in that situation. If you want me to produce, I have to be out there. I can make a difference at both ends if I play.’ Yeah, well, thanks for that, Larry.”

Jan. 14, 2009: “Look who earned himself a DNP-CD last night. So, in the wake of his complaints about PT, Hughes has played seven minutes and zero minutes in back-to-back games. And here’s what Bulls coach Vinny D had to say when asked about the situation after the game: ‘We’ll figure it out as we go. Kirk will be out there. He takes pressure off Derrick [Rose] and puts defensive pressure on the ball. And we always get leadership.’ Notice the conspicuous lack of the words ‘Larry’ and ‘Hughes’ in Vinny’s response? Yeah, me too.”

Jan. 15, 2009: “During last night’s game, NBA Cares decided to highlight Larry Hughes’ charitible work in the Chicago community, leaving the broadcast team in the uncomfortable position of having to explain why Big Shot Larry was rooted firmly to the Bulls bench. Thanks for everything you’ve done for Chicagoland, Larry. I hope you’re as giving in the city you’ll soon be traded to!”

Jan. 20, 2009: “Larry Hughes, team-first me-first machine: When Big Shot Larry found out that John Paxson is desperately seeking to dump his ginormous salary for anything anybody’ll give him, the world’s most unselfish man — just ask him! — had plenty to say about it: ‘That’s fine. I’m ready to play, whether it’s here or somewhere else … [I've] played for some good coaches and on some good teams, and I’ve always been out there, so this is new for me. I’m just trying to stay positive. I’m still helping the guys out as far as telling them what I see and what I can help them with. I don’t know how to react to it. At the same time, I’m not selfish. … So I just kind of go along and try to support the guys who are playing, knowing my time is probably coming. It was unfair [because] I only wanted to play to help the team. And I wanted to produce because they’re paying me a lot of money. I feel like I’ve let my team down because I’m not able to produce. That’s what it all boils down to. I don’t want to be looked at as a guy who’s just earning a check and not producing. I just expressed that and, I thought, not in a negative way. But people can take it how they want to take it.’” (emph. mine)

Happy birthday, Trey: Your problem is now my problem

YOU ARE BETTER SERVED LISTENING TO SMART PEOPLE UPDATE: Check out KnickerBlogger‘s analysis on today’s two deals.  Their verdict: Mostly meh, with a side of “Wilcox should be better than Rose.”

UNUTILIZED GUNNER UPDATE: Stein is now reporting that Anthony Roberson is also part of the deal, headed to Chicago.  He’s got a deal worth $855,189 that expires after next year, and appears to be added just to make the money stack up right.

CRUNCHING THINGS UPDATE: Wilcox is a $6.75 million contract expiring this year, meaning that the Knicks effectively flipped an injured center that never played for them, an old bad forward who never played for them, a relatively decent bench contributor and about $1.5 million total dollars for a big 2010 expiring deal and a two-month rental look at an energetic forward who represents a front-court upgrade over what they have on the bench (and who seems like an excellent fit in SSOL that could be a sort of David Lee-lite).

On its face, this seems to be a pretty good deal for the Knicks.  But I’m sure I’m missing something — what is it?

ALSO: Here again is the inspiration for the headline.

UPDATE: Marc Stein at ESPN.com is reporting that the New York/Chicago deal is actually a three-way trade with Oklahoma City that would send Malik Rose’s $7.65 million expiring deal to the Thunder, Tim Thomas and Jerome James to Chicago, and Chris Wilcox and Larry Hughes to the Knicks.  More as I crunch things.

Well, that’s what I get for taking like three hours to write 1,500+ words — just like that, the fruits of my labor get bumped down the page.

According to Yahoo! Sports writers Adrian Wojnarowski and Johnny Ludden (via the venerable J.E. Skeets’ Twitter feed), the Knicks and Bulls have agreed on a trade that sends shooting guard Larry Hughes to Manhattan in exchange for fugazy-hater Tim Thomas and everyone’s favorite morbidly obese thief, Jerome James.

Upon learning the news, the first thing I did (after registering my reaction via Twitter) was rush to the HoopsHype salary database to see how substantially this deal differs from the other proposals that were tossed around over the past 48 hours or so.

If my math’s right, in this configuration, New York sends out about $13 million in deals that expire next year (James’ $6.6M + Thomas’ $6.46M) in return for Hughes’ $13.65 million deal expiring next year, though James (out for the season with an Achilles tendon injury) may be forced to retire this off-season, in which case (I believe) insurance would pick up his 2009-2010 salary.  Which would mean that the Bulls save just over $7.2 million on this deal and get a guy who, when he’s not completely dogging it and infuriating you with his inability to reach his potential, can hit shots and be a rotational player (talents he didn’t exactly showcase during his last stint in Chicago, though that probem may have been largely Skilesque).

Meanwhile, the Knicks get rid of one non-performing asset, but lose a somewhat valuable guy who’s been a contributor since he came here from the Clippers, all to get back, well, the guy who may be the most-hated non-superstar in Blogfrica.  Hard to see this making too much sense, unless the Knicks are still planning to use Malik Rose’s $7.65 million expiring contract to turn into another piece.

As is his wont, Larry Hughes is causing me to have an existential crisis

HE IS THE MINDFREAK. (Photo courtesy of The Plain Dealers Early Edition blog)

HE IS THE MINDFREAK. (Photo courtesy of The Plain Dealer's Early Edition blog)

When I saw the headline to the Wednesday post on New York Daily News reporter Frank Isola’s “Knicks Knation” (ugh) blog, I felt a chill run down my spine:

“Knicks targeting Bulls’ Larry Hughes.”

For real?  I mean, I’d heard possible trades discussed that would maybe allow the Knicks to shed a contract or two, maybe bring back an expiring deal, maybe add a frontcourt asset, etc.  But “targeting”?  Larry Hughes?

Are they aware that this is the dude whose reputation for taking abysmal, low-percentage shots at inopportune times inspired someone actually started a Web site called “Hey Larry Hughes, Please Stop Taking So Many Bad Shots“?  That he has in the past worn an ungodly body armor undershirt contraption that would elicit derision from the hairiest, Rec-Spec-iest dudes in your Wednesday morning YMCA league?

That he has engendered such distaste among Bulls fans that Matt at Blog-a-Bull admitted he “may have snuck in a pump of the fist when [he] saw Larry Hughes crumple to the ground” during a pre-season game against the Timberwolves?  That goathair’s lone birthday wish for this trade deadline (BTW, happy birfday, broheim) was that his beloved Bulls ship out Hughes?

That math genius Tom Ziller wrote at The Sporting Blog that “Hughes + Basketball = Wincing pain“?  That spiritual sage Bethlehem Shoals at the same site once advised Bulls GM John Paxson that Hughes “will destroy this team if you let him shine, like a cult leader and corrupt guidance counselor rolled up in one“?

That, through a uniquely distasteful combination of poor play and selfishness, he earned this etherization by Eamonn Brennan, noted scribe of seemingly everywhere?

Larry. Real talk. You are not as good as you think you are. You’re that awkward, crappy guy at open gym who, for whatever reason, thinks he’s really good, and alienates an entire court of eager basketball players in the meantime. You are self-deluded. You don’t command minutes. You waste possessions. You don’t defend. Your arm sleeve-sweater-thing is utterly ridiculous. You take horrible shots. SOMEONE NAMED A WEB SITE AFTER YOUR BAD SHOTS. IT WAS QUITE POPULAR DESPITE ITS INCREDIBLY LONG URL.

Christ, Larry. Figure it out. You’re the only one that hasn’t.

(I knew there was a lot of Larry Hughes-centric venom on the Internet, but I never knew it was this widespread … and we haven’t even gotten to the Basketbawful retrospective.  More on that to come.)

And yet, here we are, with Isola reporting that team president Donnie Walsh is considering flipping the expiring contract of Malik Rose and at least one player asset — including, possibly, restricted-free-agent-to-be Nate Robinson, whose stock has jumped after a string of quality performances leading into the All-Star break and whose monster 38-minute-32/10-with-3-assists-and-zero-TO line in Tuesday’s surprise victory over the Spurs led Kelly Dwyer to write the following: “That’s a line, and I’m being serious, that we were used to seeing from Dirk Nowitzki during his MVP run” — to bring in Hughes, whose $13.65 million contract comes off the books heading into the much-ballyhooed Summer of 2010.

(LONGEST SENTENCE EVER.)

But hold the phone on the giant cap-space clearance.  Let’s see if we can’t handicap the odds of this sucker actually going down.

Over at ESPN.com, Chris Sheridan last night gave us the good ol’ “go fuck yourself, trade watchers!” coin flip:

I have one very plugged-in source telling me that the Knicks still have a “slim but possible” chance of landing Larry Hughes, while another source was equally emphatic in saying he expects the Bulls to keep Hughes in mothballs now that they’ve dropped some $200,000 under the luxury tax threshold via the Brad Miller/John Salmons deal.

Today’s Chicago Tribune reports that “a nearly completed deal sending Hughes to the Knicks for Malik Rose and Jerome James fell apart Wednesday.”  At the same time, however, today’s Chicago Sun-Times says that Hughes didn’t travel with the Bulls to Milwaukee for their game against the Bucks (intrigue!) and that the framework for a Hughes deal might involve David Lee going Midwest and Kirk Hinrich heading to the Big City of Dreams.  (NOTE: Newsday’s Alan Hahn says that deal’s not happening, and that Lee’s not going anywhere.)

That first trade would make some economic sense — the Bulls get Rose’s expiring $7.65 million deal to create some space this off-season, the Knicks shed the now-largely-symbolic albatross of Big Snacks and turn about $14.25 million in total expiring contracts (spread over two years) into one lump-sum $13.65 million goner next year, the overwhelmingly obvious and explicitly stated goal of everything they do.

On the other hand, the second proposal would make most Knicks fans cry, cry, cry for several reasons:

  1. Lee’s become the great white hope for many in the Apple;
  2. While Hinrich is a more gifted overall player than Chris Duhon and his 2009 per-36 numbers are about in line with his career marks (with at least a couple of his advanced stats/peripherals nosing up toward his ’06-’07 career bests) despite missing about two months to a thumb injury, he doesn’t appear to represent a monster upgrade over what the Knicks are getting from Duhon this year;
  3. Hinrich’s contract pays him through 2011-2012, meaning that even though the Knicks would shed Hughes’ $13.65 million, they’d still have Cap’n Kirk, who doesn’t seem to be too many people’s idea of an NBA championship-caliber starting point guard, on the books for two more seasons.

Added wrinkle: In his post yesterday, Isola claimed that Lee would only go to Chicago in a Hughes deal if the Bulls sent back Joakim Noah or Tyrus Thomas, a framework for which had also been discussed as a “trade that SHOULD happen” by ESPN.com’s Chad Ford (in a post that was summarily pooh-poohed by Tommy Dee at The Knicks Blog on Tuesday).

But what makes this all the more interesting is Isola’s suggestion that some in NY’s front offices are having doubts about whether Lee is talented or savvy enough to merit locking up long-term:

Lee has enjoyed a breakout season but some in the organization wonder if he has reached his ceiling. On Tuesday, Lee was no match for Tim Duncan, who scored 13 fourth quarter points. Lee also missed a crucial free throw in the final minute and then knowingly gave his sixth foul in the final three seconds while guarding Tony Parker, who finished the night shooting 5-for-20.

Although the Knicks won the game, Lee’s decision to give a foul – the Knicks had one to give – was a questionable move at best. If the Knicks were up one, Lee would have been smart to foul. But in a tied game, there is a strong chance that the game will go into overtime. Think of it this way, how many All-Stars (and Lee thinks he belongs in that group) would knowingly foul out of a tie game? The answer is none.

Now, there’s one patently ridiculous point in Isola’s post, as has been noted in various places: Name me all the teams that Duncan doesn’t go to town on, especially down the stretch, especially when opponents are trying to guard him with 6’9″ guys.

But as for the other stuff — the questions about how much more’s left untapped in Lee’s talent reservoir — well, hmm.

/takes himself out of fan mode and tries to think like a company man

If you believe Lee’s reached his ceiling and as a result you’re not really considering him in your long-term plans … and if you’re looking for a higher-potential athlete that might be totally unleashed in Mike D’Antoni’s system (I think we can all agree that Thomas has the chance to be that) … AND if you think teams are unlikely to ever have higher opinions of Lee and Robinson than they do right now …

Then doesn’t it make perfect sense to continue the job started by the Jamal Crawford and Zach Randolph deals and use these remaining valuable assets (in conjunction with Rose’s expiring contract) to try to shed the last remaining bad multiyear deals (Jared Jeffries and Eddy Curry) and keep cleaning up the company’s balance sheet?  Especially if said deals could return a chip (Thomas) that has the potential to be a higher-performing asset?

Even if it goes against all intuitive fan instincts to actively try to lose the two players who most make your team worth watching and fun to follow?  Even if it means taking on a millstone (Hughes) that is sure to inspire Silky Johnston-level hating from yours truly (which, come to think of it, might also be considered an upside)?

The man in me thinks the “sell high” principle should take hold and I should have the balls to stick with the same thought process that I maintained when Walsh dumped Crawford and Randolph — this year doesn’t matter, D’Antoni will find ways to be competitive and interesting this season regardless, building the foundation for the future and scouring the books is what counts, etc.

But the fan in me wants to boo the notion of moving Lee and NateRob until my throat is sore because of the life they’ve helped bring to the squad.  It’s causing the clash of head versus heart, intellect versus instinct, adult analysis versus childlike glee.  I honestly didn’t know I cared this much.

Wow.  That’s 1,500+ words I didn’t see coming.  Thanks, Larry Hughes, for making me feel like Dane McGowan after he smokes the blue mold in The Invisibles.  Trade deadline is doing my fucking head in, man.