Tag Archives: new york knicks

File this under “Things That Will Never Happen”

From ESPN.com’s front page:

eddy-sad

Yeah, there are a lot of things it seems like Eddy Curry might find, but normalcy wouldn’t be at the top of the list.

I know it’s well-worn territory, but the last two years of Curry’s life have been just a murderer’s row of horrendousness. He’s been the victim of a home invasion, he’s been reduced to a joke in his professional life, he’s been on the business end of a highly public and extremely embarrassing lawsuit that called his sexuality into question, and then his ex-girlfriend and 9-month-old daughter were murdered, an attack that his son mercifully survived, but was still present for. He’s also had to deal with all this before he even turns 27 (dude’s a little more than two months younger than me) — and, if he doesn’t come back from the knee injury that’s sidelined him for most of this season as a vastly superior player than he was last year, he could be on a path that takes him out of the NBA by age 30, sending him rocketing into the vast nothingness of NeverWas. Dark shadows abound.

All of which is to say: If this guy just wanted to staple himself to a barstool and drink for the next six summers, I’d have a tough time blaming him. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m rooting for you, Eddy. You’ll be in my thoughts as I start drinking. Slainte, boss.

In which your man fires up the ol’ computer to get the scoop on last night’s Knicks game

I didn’t see last night’s Knicks/Warriors tilt — not that I’ve seen any other Knicks tilts this season, what with my out-of-marketdom, my lack-of-League-Passery and my inability-to-procure-even-basic-cable-due-to-significant-broke-assness.  But on the way into work, I heard on the radio that despite NateRob’s best Short Round-esque attempts to warn Wilson Chandler to cover his heart (or at least the paint) as Corey Maggette lets loose a jumper, Dominant Team Pringles dropped a heartbreaker to the Golden State Dubs in Hammerworld.  Just a brutal stretch for the Knicks, as they continue to run up against excellent teams and play balls-out to the best of their abilities, only to come up just short.

Now, to take a spin around the news-gathering world to become more informed about just how well the Knicks acquitted themselves in defeat:

Hmm. That’s funny. Headline for the AP game story on ESPN.com says “Jackson’s 35 points lead Warriors’ 144-127 rout of Knicks.”  Must be a confused editorial intern or something.  Surely the Knicks didn’t give up 144 points to an 18-35 team that’s just beginning to integrate its best scorer back into the lineup while still giving starter’s minutes to this guy.  Surely the rest of the article will clarify that Mike D’Antoni’s squadron performed impeccably throughout:

OAKLAND, Calif. — Al Harrington basked in the boos, calling them down from the rafters with both outstretched arms after he hit a 3-pointer just 61 seconds into his return to Golden State.

The former Warriors forward should have saved whatever energy he possessed for playing a little defense. Harrington and his New York Knicks were just too pitiful to boo while Golden State rolled to the highest point total in the NBA this season. (emph. mine)

“Just too pitiful to boo”?  Oh, this doesn’t sound good.  But you know what?  Fuck the AP.  Bunch of greedy self-righteous dicks, if you ask me, always trying to undermine that which is relevant and hopeful.  Let’s turn to an outlet where the coverage isn’t ruthlessly biased and mean-spirited.   Somewhere like the New York Post, which I’m sure will give me an honest take on Al Harrington’s night:

Harrington was the most hated man in Oakland last night. The ex-Warrior who forced his exit to New York was booed whenever he touched the ball, cheered whenever he missed or had the ball stripped, which was three times. (emph. mine)

With 7:04 left, Harrington was stripped yet again, by ex-Knick Jamal Crawford, leading to a fast-break, Driving slam by Corey Maggette that sent the Warriors ahead 123-104. The Knicks outgunned the Warriors 138-125.

The Warriors spoiled Harrington’s revenge night with a dizzying display of running and gunning. Harrington had a big first half with 22 points before he disappeared, finishing with 24, with four turnovers, making 9 of 20 shots. (emph. mine)

Well, that doesn’t sound too good. But hey, that’s the typical mainstream media line of BULLSHIT, right?  You can’t trust anything you read in the fishwrap worth a damn anymore — the whole industry’s imploding, and attention to detail was on the first floor of the shitheap of a building.  God, look at that second paragraph — does that intermittently capitalized confusion-pile look like something a professional editor would’ve allowed to happen back in the heyday of hard-boiled scribes like Jimmy Breslin and Pete Hamill?  HELL NO.  And they were always drunk, all the time.

No, sir, any reader worth his salt knows that if you want the REAL story these days, you need to hook up with the blogosphere.  It’s where all the best, sharpest writing is happening, for honest.  I’m sure that Seth over at the excellent site Posting and Toasting will beat back these haters with clear-eyed analysis that is both calm and effusive in its praise of the Knickerbockers:

posting-and-toasting

Holy shit.  It really WAS that bad?  The Knicks just got their asses beat up and down the floor, and you’re telling me there’s no excuse?

God, I feel so hopeless.  Not even “Go New York Go” is dispelling my blues; I’ve watched the ’94 version and the Q-Tip ’09 update six times each, and my sadger’s still on 100, thousand, trillion.  Me llamo Eeyore, y’all.

Whatever.  Guess I’ll just go to the Knicks’ official Web site to put a cap on this depressing morning:

Already shorthanded without Quentin Richardson, the Knicks lost three players, Chris Duhon, Tim Thomas and Jared Jeffries, to injury.

OF COURSE!  INJURIES!  How could you reasonably expect any team to compete against the likes of C.J. Watson, Kelenna Azubuike and this guy without talented, strategically integral pieces like Quentin Richardson, Tim Thomas and Jared Jeffries?  It’s unfathomable.

Injuries as an excuse for abysmal performances, FTW.  Can’t wait to use it again after the Knicks lose to this guy tonight.

Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images, via Yahoo! Sports’ NBA Photo Gallery.

Finding the silver lining when faced with a s–tcloud that endlessly rains down points

This list pretty neatly encapsulates the way I’ve been thinking about the Knicks since Isiah was powerstripped and D’ontonnie took over last spring.  It’s also why I can’t get really behind “LeBron or bust” (though God, it’s hard not to daydream after what he and Kobe have done on the Garden floor this week) or doing too much in the way of handicapping what five players will start in orange and blue on Opening Night 2010.

Things had to be different to have a chance at being better, and they are now (both better and different, though the Knicks are still a sub-.500 team headed toward the lottery).  Stylistically, intellectually, spiritually, physically, emotionally, mercifully, the game in the Garden has changed.  Knicks fans don’t have to be ashamed anymore; the last seven years are over, done, kaput, and I can’t think of any better illustration than the tenor of the national reactions that followed Kobe’s 61 and LeBron’s 52-10-11.

For Christ’s sake, the Knicks have been on the business end of titanic, historic, remarkable individual accomplishments on their home court in losses IN CONSECUTIVE GAMES — and the dominant topic of discussion isn’t, “Man, how awful is this woebegone franchise that’s getting served while their fans root for the bad guys?”  It is, as it should be, the two very different (yet equally jaw-dropping) forms of sharp-fanged athletic alchemy so ruthlessly unveiled by Messrs. Bryant and James against Dominant Team Pringles.

To the extent the Knicks have even been part of the national/league-wide conversation that has followed these two insane performances, the inclusion has mostly come in one of two forms:

  • a minor acknowledgment of the role that their lack of defense played in the two stars getting off so sick-like (a totally fair point, since the Knicks typically don’t play great team defense and don’t have any top-quality individual on-ball defenders, let alone someone who could hope to reasonably check Kobe or God forbid LeBron for more than a tenth of a second), or
  • a note of tacit amazement that New York didn’t get beat by 50, that they didn’t melt into a puddle of tears at the showcase of sheer masculinity they were witnessing … that they were, for large stretches at least, very much in both of these games against far superior individual and collective talents.

It would be absurd to qualify either loss as a net positive for D’Antoni, Walsh, et. al., but there’s something to be said for a coach being able to sell his team on the idea that the two best players in the world not only had to go supernova to beat them, but also that the outcome of each game wasn’t a foregone conclusion every step of the way.  Similarly, fans can find the honor in a team that doesn’t just roll over when they recognize the sword of God wearing a road uni.

But more important than anything else, not a single word of the preceding paragraphs could have been typed with a straight face (or even with a screw-face, really) at any point during the previous seven seasons, and certainly not during Isiah’s run.  The poison’s been purged, the demons exorcised.

Now, does that mean the Knicks’ next seven seasons will be better?  Maybe, maybe not.  But at least it’s not insane to believe that there’s a chance they can be.  Change has to start somewhere, and whatever starting five we end up with is the only one we could have.  Let Jesus take the wheel, Knicks fans, and for the first time this decade, try to enjoy your team as a choose-your-own-adventure story that actually doesn’t have to end with the secret agent you thought was your friend putting two in the base of your skull.  Things could be different; they already are.

Photo via FFFFOUND!

Want

Sweat stains not included.

One bad thing about getting more into the Internet/sports blogs/memes/clothing sites while making middling money during an economic event horizon: I now want $30 T-shirts more than I have at any previous point in my life. So friends and countrymen out there: Get your Marc Cuban, be my Benefactor and cop me that blue flame I need.

Thanks, FirstCuts.

When my work day sucks, only one thing can bring a smile to my face …

Ludicrous mixtapes of former low-light New York Knicks!

And thanks to YouTube, I know now that there are many.  Sweet merciful crap, are there too many.

Por ejemplo:

A Kurt Thomas mix.  Because who doesn’t love tons of slow-motion shots of midrange jumpers?

Or how about this compendium of Chris Childs and Charlie Ward clips?  Man, look at them go!  They’re like point guards, but worse!

And who can’t get enough of Nazr Mohammed?  Hey, Ewing!  Based on old-timey sportswriting criteria, this guy’s better than you [via Spurs ring]!

Yo, Devine.

What up, duke?

I got this one thing I consider my only art.

Fuckin’ people over?

Nah, dog. REMEMBERING MARDY COLLINS’ ROOKIE YEAR LIKE AN ILLEPHANT WHOSE MEMORY SPITS HOT FIRE

Perhaps greatest of all, though, is the Jim Dolan “P.I.M.P.” mix.  Packed with enough venomous fury to power seven cobras for 70 x 7 years of natural kingdom murder!

In case anyone’s wondering why the happiest I’ve been this decade is this year’s 19-25 record, please see above.

ED. NOTE: This is only a partial list of Knicks-related videotaped upfuckery available on the tubes.  Please feel free to leave your favorite in the comments.

Wait a sec: Anthony Bonner was almost served a subpoena on the bench during a preseason game?

Two men died for us to get this photo. One was the poor bastard that tried to serve Anthony Mason. The other? Armand Assante.

Two men died for us to get this completely legitimate, super-undoctored photo: The poor guy who tried to serve Anthony Bonner with a subpoena, and Armand Assante.

It’s possible that this is well-worn territory, but I hadn’t heard anything about this at all before some random searching dropped it in my lap, and when more determined Web scrounging after the fact turned up precious little, too, it seemed too good to pass up.

I don’t really know how I wound up looking at the comments on the Dec. 15, 2008, Knicks/Suns game thread at KnickerBlogger (by the way, congratulations, guys!), but while there, I saw this:

knickerblogger

Wait, WHAT? Anthony Bonner — #4 in your programs, #1 in your hearts; the man the Sacramento Kings took with the 23rd overall pick in the 1990 NBA Draft (one slot before Dwayne Schintzius!); one of the many thuggish defensive bigs on the ’93-’94 and ’94-’95 Knicks teams that introduced me to basketball (and prevented me from truly loving the game until more than a decade later) — was served a subpoena on the bench during a preseason game?  You’re not the only one who needs more info, Jcon.

A quick search on 1050 ESPN’s Web site led me to  ESPN Radio’s Podcenter page, where I found that JVG showed up on the Dec. 16, 2008, episode of “Tirico & Van Pelt.”  You can listen to the audio here — the relevant portion starts around the 27:00 mark, with Van Gundy talking about the Spurs’ chances of making a title run, which the former Knicks and Rockets coach thinks have been dramatically improved by the injuries San Antono suffered in the early going.  Here’s my unofficial transcript:

JEFF VAN GUNDY: … I think George Hill, their first-round pick from this year, has played very well, and now is a very solid backup guard. I think they signed Roger Mason from the Wizards, I think was an understated loss to the Wizards and is now an understated benefit for the Spurs. It gives them more firepower. I think that allows them to play Bruce Bowen only when they need a defensive stopper, because if they don’t have somebody that really needs to be stopped on the wing, you put Mason on the floor, and you have more offense. And then Anth … uh, Anthony Bonner, um, Bonner …

MIKE TIRICO: Matt Bonner, Matt Bonner.

VAN GUNDY: Matt Bonner.  I used to have a guy Anthony Bonner …

TIRICO: We remember him well. (laughs)

SCOTT VAN PELT: I remember him, yeah. (laughs)

VAN GUNDY: He doesn’t shoot quite as good …

VAN PELT: Not as well as Matt Bonner, no. (laughs)

VAN GUNDY: But he did defend and play with energy, and he’s the only player I ever coached that was served a subpoena on the bench in an exhibition game. (emph. mine)

(Tirico and Van Pelt both start cracking up)

VAN GUNDY: And he was so smart — I guess you have to accept it with your hands …

TIRICO: Right. (ED. NOTE: Something you’re not telling us, Mike?)

VAN GUNDY: But when he saw it, he just put his hands up and they couldn’t give it to him. It just fell to the ground, I-I don’t, you know … So, that showed me he had great experience, but I’m not sure the right experience.

(Hosts’ laughter rises a notch)

VAN GUNDY: Anyway, Matt Bonner …

VAN PELT (interrupting): No one cares about Matt Bonner at this point! No one’s even listening to your point about Matt Bonner, I’m sorry! We want to know what the hell Anthony Bonner did!

VAN GUNDY: I have no idea. I have no idea. I threw up my hands when he threw up his hands.

Yeah, that’s fucking nuts.  And that’s also about it, information-wise: Bonner’s sparse Wikipedia page mentions the ESPN Radio incident, which has apparently been turned into a station spot, though JVG’s name is omitted in the entry.  Nothing else of consequence on Google, and a LexisNexis search turns up nathans.

According to the Wikipedia page, Bonner is now the head basketball coach at Vashon High School in St. Louis, Mo., where he played his high school ball before heading to St. Louis University and then the pros.  A call to Vashon seeking comment after school hours on Friday (which is pretty much the least ideal time to learn about anything, from a pseudo-journalistic perspective) went unanswered, and the school either doesn’t have a voice mail system or it wasn’t picking up.  An e-mail was also sent Friday to Gregory Allen, listed on Vashon’s Web site as the school’s contact; that, too, has not yet been answered.  If I get any responses, I’ll update the post.

Stephon Marbury will now go nuclear on Moscow, Athens and the entire cast of “According to Jim”

steph-nuke-web

When you inevitably make fun of my photo game, please be gentle — I know I have a long way to go. (Original Starbury courtesy of Salman Jafri/wcremix.com)

ESPN.com basketball writer Chris Sheridan is reporting that Greek basketball team Olympiakos (with a K, because Tas Melas a.k.a. The Grecian Formula told me so) is pursuing former New Orleans Hornets/current Dynamo Moscow guard Jannero Pargo, last seen by North American fans jacking up shots that should have been taken by Chris Paul in the waning minutes of a Game 7 Hornets loss to the San Antonio Spurs during the 2008 Western Conference Finals.

Add in the fact that there was no contact between Olympiakos and the Knicks about Marbury’s contract situation on Thursday, and the sum works out to: We ain’t want you anymore, Steph.  (I knew those theoretical basketball math classes would help.)

It just kind of sounds weird, doesn’t it?  Yes, Marbury is an all-time team murderer, but he’s also a significantly better talent than Jannero Pargo, isn’t he?

Actually, no.  Check their per-36 numbers, courtesy of Basketball-Reference (Steph’s are here, Pargo’s are here).  Over the past three years, their points and steals per-36 have been nearly the same; Steph’s averaged about one more assist/36, but Pargo’s had about one more rebound/36; they’ve turned the ball over at roughly the same rate over the last two years; Pargo’s been a better free-throw and 3-point shooter, while Steph’s had the edge from inside the arc.  Also, Pargo’s two years younger and Steph’s batshit crazy.

Forget all the head tattoos, truck parties and the heal-the-Earth stuff.  This might be the most damning thing I’ve ever learned about Stephon Marbury: For the past three years, he hasn’t been demonstrably better than Jannero Pargo.

Wow.

A handful of things I’ve been pondering during a busy workday

    I’d always wondered what happened to Ron Lim, the sick-ass penciller behind some of my favorite comics of the ’90s.  Well, he’s here.  One less thing to think about, y’know? Here’s some more:

    • The New York Knicks are 16-24 heading into today’s game against the Big Nonconformist and his Arizona Fiery Hot Clusters of Gaseousplosion.  If Dominant Team Pringles can go 3-2 over its next five games, then this (click STOP on your browser once the page opens up) will have come partially true, and I will have accurately predicted the Knicks’ record through the first three-plus months of the season.  I will be insufferable.  And then, because my fivesight (one better than foresight, you see) is spectacular, the pain of a winless February will commence.  And I will be suffering.  In all things, balance.
    • Did anybody else find it a little weird that NBA.com dispatched a photographer to LeBron James’ hotel room to take pictures of him watching the inauguration with his kids?  There’s nothing wrong with the pictures per se (except maybe that they’re boring, but that’s to be expected, since the whole goal is to document a guy watching something on TV), and I understand that LeBron’s culturally important and famous and black, which means media outlets felt the need to pay attention to the way he responded to/consumed Barack Obama taking the oath of office, etc., etc.  It just seems sort of, well, dumb.  I mean, editorially, what was the endgame there?  Did they hope that as soon as John Roberts started spitting his game, LeBron would start freaking out, smiling wide, throwing chalk technology murdering rosin mixture up in the air and emitting unbridled seven-octave hosannas?  Seems unlikely, but hey, I don’t know the guy.  Then again, it’s possible I’m engaging in some inverse rationalization here; the project probably strikes me as dumb simply because of how uneventful and staid the photos are.  I’m still not 100 percent sure why it initially struck me as kind of creepy, though … may need to unpack that a bit more.  (Big hat tip to LeBron 2010.)
    • The adventurously titled New York Mets Online makes the argument that my favorite squadron should re-sign Pedro Martinez.  In a recent podcast, Bill Simmons made a similar point, suggesting the Mets bring Pedro back as a clubhouse guy (Kevin Millar with a Jheri curl on a diet of a little bit of mangu and an egg?) and an enticement/insurance policy in a run for Manny Ramirez.  But since Omar Minaya seems intent on killing my soul by saying the Mets aren’t looking at bats (despite a projected everyday lineup that features Brian Schneider, the rotting carcass of Luis Castillo, uber-unproven Daniel Murphy, and possibly both Ryan Church and Fernando Tatis), the Pedro handcuff wouldn’t seem to add anything.  More importantly, while I’m all for stockpiling arms (especially when, as is the case in Flushing, you’ve only got one reliably good one), it just seems karmically and psychologically unsound to expect Pedro Martinez to be cool with competing for a slot in the back-end of what will ultimately be a middling starting rotation.  Even if he doesn’t have it anymore — and let’s be clear: he doesn’t — Pedro just can’t be Tim Redding, or Claudio Vargas or even Bartolo Colon, a guy with a much more comparable resume who’s been forced into swing roles in each of the last two seasons.  He was a lightning bolt, a benevolent dictator … if he hangs it up now, fans can write off the last 2.5 seasons as an injury-riddled mess and remember him the way he should be remembered.  The longer he pitches, the harder it’ll be to do that.  Let another team participate in fading that memory; it shouldn’t be us.
    • A cool post over at Pounding the Rock lists the 21 “real, honest to goodness guys who matter” in the NBA.  Hard to argue with any of the selections; have a fun few minutes trying to make an argument for an omission, then hit their site to comment and complain.  (The only two so far that I feel I could argue for: Steve Nash and Chauncey Billups.)
    • I don’t like power rankings, but I do like the guys at Talkhoops.net and I have been reading their rankings today, so linking there is only fair.  However, disrespecting Dominant Team Pringles by devoting the comments on their team to Raptors talk … that’s a paddlin’.
    • After getting put on to sites like The Passion of the Weiss, Nah Right and 2dopeboyz by goatman, I’m starting to pay attention to hip-hop again, which has been very rewarding.  One conundrum, though: I’m having a lot of trouble with this Asher Roth kid. My introduction was the video of him performing “I Love College” on Carson Daly (who’s still alive, which is nice), which I did not like AT ALL.  Then I came across his “A Milli” freestyle, and I dug his lyricism and flow.  Which led me to download his mixtape, “The Greenhouse Effect,” and it’s more of the same … some great wordplay and inventive ways of jacking good beats mashed up with some horrendous winking joke tracks.  Hmm.  To help me resolve my internal conflict, I’d like very much if my half-dozens upon half-dozens of readers can weigh in and tell me how to feel about this: Should I like Asher Roth, or should I dislike him?

    Back, hopefully, with something more real tomorrow.

    The saga of a grown-ass man called “Big Snacks” may have just ended

    Jerome James ices down his knees, holds what I am almost certain is a plastic spoon and fork (or perhaps a spork). (AP photo/Mike Groll, via Daylife)

    Jerome James ices down his knees, holds what I am almost certain is a plastic spoon and fork (or perhaps a spork). (AP photo/Mike Groll, via Daylife)

    You might not have noticed it, but buried in the notes at the bottom of the Associated Press game story about the New York Knicks’ Martin Luther King Jr. Day victory over the Chicago Bulls was a sentence that could mark the end of the single most flagrant disgrace of the Isiah Thomas era.

    That it ends with not with a bang or a blaze couldn’t be more appropriate; a whimper and a wheeze more than suffice for little-used, little-caring, little-consequence, huge-salary, huge-appetite, huge-mistake center Jerome James.

    Not sure who had it first: the AP, Knicks beat writer Frank Isola of the New York Daily News (and its knattily knamed Knicks Knation blog) or someone else.  Either way, the reports came out Monday that James suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon during practice on Sunday — an injury that will reportedly require season-ending surgery, likely spells the end of his tenure with the Knicks and could mark the end of his pro basketball career.

    So we can now close the books on James, at least for the 2008-2009 NBA season, for which he is to be paid $6.2 million, according to the handy HoopsHype salary database.  (After ’08-’09, he’s still got one year remaining at $6.6 million on the five-year, $29 million contract he signed in August 2005.)  Through 39 games this year, James — affectionately nicknamed “Big Snacks,” which would be funny if it wasn’t so damn sad — had logged 10 minutes of court time for Dominant Team Pringles; that’s less than half the number of DNP-CDs that James compiled in ’08-’09.

    It’s safe to say that at 7’1″, with a weight very generously listed between 280 and 300 lbs. — were I a betting man, I’d bang the over with most of my paltry salary — and virtually no distinguishable offensive skill set, James wasn’t a great match for the Mike D’Antoni offense (although watching him spend more time on the floor could have driven the fine, talented gentlemen at Seven Seconds or Mess to agony and ecstasy in equal measure).

    Obviously, no one wants to see a man undergo any injury, let alone one serious enough to potentially cost him his very lucrative livelihood, even if you could make a pretty compelling argument that he wasn’t exactly earning that livelihood to begin with.  It’s our hope here at this is the city line. that Snacks can rehabilitate fully and either catch on with a club somewhere (just not one that plays its home games at MSG) at what’s certain to be a damn sight better than a living wage, or, failing that, that he’ll find some enjoyable and productive way to spend the remainder of his days after his exit from the game.

    But the pure math on this is just stunning.  In the final analysis, Jerome James — JEROME F’N JAMES — will have earned $620,000 per minute of PT this year, or about 182 times the league average calculated by the Salt Lake Tribune’s Ross Siler last month following a discussion with TrueHoop’s Henry Abbott.  Nice work if you can get it.

    Takes a special man to wear a garbage bag on the basketball court.  Jerome James is just that special.

    Smile wide, Jerome. $620,000 per minute of labor's a damn solid take, m'man. Buys a lot of trashbag outerwear.

    But wait — there’s less.  In a post-mortem on James’ season published Monday, RealGM Executive Editor Chris Reina — who may want to crack the whip on the folks responsible for his site’s Clippers coverage — used some more “creative accounting” to break down just how James’ five-year deal played out on the floor, assuming he doesn’t come back to New York next year:

    $2,507,204.61 per hour on the floor

    $325,842.70 per game played

    $130,044.84 per point scored

    $177,914.11 per rebound

    $743,589.74 per blocked shot

    Wow.  More from Reina:

    James had more combined turnovers (75) and personal fouls (179) than points [and] was just about as apathetic as any player I’ve seen. My most lasting vision of his tenure will be when I saw him counting multiple hundred dollar bills all by himself after another game in which he didn’t even dress …

    To his credit, Reina bites the bullet and admits that he liked the signing at the time because “James had a very good season for an exciting and successful 04-05 Sonics team that culminated with an excellent playoff series against Sacramento in which he averaged 17.2 points and 9.4 rebounds,” and because in the days before Eddy Curry and after the Knicks dealt Nazr Mohammed and Kurt Thomas, New York needed a pivot (“The remaining bigs on the roster at that point were rookies Lee and Channing Frye, plus Malik Rose, Mike Sweetney, Jackie Butler and Maurice Taylor”).

    Just for fun, here’s Isiah’s post-signing take:

    “When I looked at Jerome, the first thing I looked at was his shot-blocking ability, his ability to clog up the middle. He gives you a defensive presence. It was what we lacked last year. We needed size, we needed girth, we needed a space-eater. We also needed some intimidation in the middle.”

    And Jerome’s:

    “At this point of my career, I wanted to move to the next level. I’m very comfortable playing the supporting role, but I not only wanted to hold myself accountable for what I feel I can bring but I also wanted an organization to demand more from me. The Knicks presented me that opportunity.”

    Sure, all that is laughable now.  But of course, it was pretty laughable at the time, too.

    Yeah, the Knicks’ front line stunk on ice, but James’ “very good” ’04-’05 season –which saw him put up merely decent per-36 numbers (10.7 pts. and 6.5 rebs., in addition to an admittedly eye-catching 3 blks) — was an obvious mirage.  He’d never notched a PER above 13.1, he’d never averaged more than 16.9 minutes per game in a season, and with a nickname like “Big Snacks,” it’s not like anyone expected dude to become a workout demon and prepare for starter minutes after getting a multi-year, multimillion-dollar deal.  It was an atrocious signing at the time, one that led Paul Merrill at Supersonicsoul to write the following:

    Does he deserve $29 million over five years? No. Will he be out of the league, bankrupt, and selling sports drinks out of the back of a van in five years? Probably.

    Confidence-inspiring, to be sure, and sadly prescient.  But that someone wrote that AS IT WAS HAPPENING — that this take on James’ abilities wasn’t just the preachings of a lone nut, but the FREAKING BOOK on him –  bolsters my contention:

    More than the weird Maurice Taylor and Malik Rose deals, more than the Steve Francis and Jalen Rose trades, more than the Jared Jeffries signing and even more than importing Eddy Curry, the decision to sign Jerome James to a five-year deal and pay him $30 million was the single most asinine and completely indefensible move made under the Isiah regime. To borrow a line that standup comedian Patrice Oneal once used on Opie and Anthony, it was the kind of deal that made you go to the thesaurus to find synonyms for awful.

    And now, by the looks of things, its putrid stench might vacate the premises of the World’s Most Famous Arena.

    Just one more millstone shed from the necks of D’Antoni, Donnie Walsh and the New York faithful.  Just one more brick mortared to the wall we’re building between ourselves and the traumatic memories that Isiah Thomas once ran our favorite basketball team.  Just one more step toward a future that, while maybe not full of the King or 2.0 or CB4 or Black Jesus or Nash or whomever, is at least open to new possibilities.  Just one more reason to be happier than you ever in a million years thought you’d be to root for a 16-24 team.

    Vaya con dios, Jerome.  Go haunt someone else.

    P.S.: Perhaps the most staggering thing about Jerome James?  That I saw this on his ESPN.com player card:

    jerome-crop

    See that 0.1% under the “% OWN” column?  That means that someone out there has Jerome James on his or her fantasy basketball team.  Noodle that one for a while.

    A calm, reasoned explanation for this Eddy Curry business

    Which sexual path would YOU (allegedly) take if you saw this sign on a road trip?

    kissed-a-girl

    I’d start (allegedly) considering more masculine options, too.

    Photo courtesy of Crummy Church Signs, a blog I added to my Google Reader as soon as I saw its name, via the fine folks at FFFFOUND!.

    Also, fellow jump-the-gunners: Do yourselves a favor and read Shoals’ take over at The Sporting Blog, which gave me pause and stopped me from writing a lengthy post in which an embattled Curry shot a guest spot on Charles Oakley’s new online cooking show.