It’s been about two months since I last had a thought. Wait, what? NO! It’s just been two months since I had time to write down a few thoughts about the local sports scene, and I guess anything in the sports scene that I’m thinking about.
Let’s start with the obvious: the New York Mets.
Last time I wrote about the Mets, I said that the organization was doing something wrong if they couldn’t acquire a team president. Steve Cohen changed my mind.
Steve Cohen is a very rich man, as every radio show host will repeatedly let you know. The other owners know this, and have been fucking with him in the only way that they can. “I don’t have your money, so you can’t have my stuff.” Agents fucked with him. Players fucked with him. Because he was playing nice and trying to fit in. He finally decided enough was enough.
So what did Cohen do? Basically he said “The stuff I have? The players want.” And then he overpaid Starling Marte by roughly $20 million dollars. Then he offered a guy coming off of an injury tens of millions of dollars. And then the gut punch. The highest annually paid player was the New York Yankees Garret Cole. Was. The Mets offer to Max Scherzer – a future Hall of Fame pitcher who, while old, competed for a Cy Young last season- wasn’t just $5 more than the Cole deal. It wasn’t 1% more.
IT WAS 20% MORE THAN WHAT COLE GETS. TWENTY PERCENT.
Folks, that is called a fuck you. And a game changer.
EVERY agent will come to the Mets with their free agents as a final offer. A deal with Samsung will transform Citi Field into an entertainment destination. The manager is not only not a brand new inexperienced manager, but a widely respected, player friendly one in Buck Showalter. And the general manager he hired was both experienced and mentored by a baseball legend in Gene Michael- Billy Eppler. You know, the guy that brought Shohei Ohtani to the majors? The guy that hired former Yankee Showalter?
I get the sense that Eppler isn’t done contacting former Yankees. Brian Cashman will be a free agent executive in December of 2022. He’s presently making $25 million. I get the sense that Cohen can make a better offer.
And I want to give a pat on the back to Eppler for this overlooked gem- sure, losing Noah Syndergaard and Michael Conforto hurts if you’re rooting for a player instead of the team. But by losing both Confotro- who seems to be good every other year, and Syndergaard- who has pitched a handful of innings over the last two years and will maybe throw 125 innings next year if he doesn’t get injured? The Mets gained two second round picks in this upcoming MLB draft. And with the Kumar Rocker fiasco? The Mets gained a compensatory first round pick. So 5 of the top 80 and 6 of the top 100 picks will belong to the Mets. Anyone want to know how to restock a farm system? Let inconsistent and injured players bring you high level picks and save you wanted money.
Gone are the days where the Mets are auditioning rookie major league managers. By the way, former Mets manager Rojas is now an outfielders coach for the Yankees. Outfielders coach.
I’ll add this- in October I offered to be the Mets GM. At this point, I will accept an assistant GM position.
The New York Yankees: Your Dad wouldn’t put up with this Mets shit!
Major League Baseball: Give the players what they want. When it comes to Labor vs Management situations, there are two truisms: Management will always fuck labor because management itself is inherently backstabbing as people, and labor asks for fairness which usually falls against backstabbers.
The Chicago Cubs saw their team value increase 400% in the last decade because PLAYERS won them a World Series. Shouldn’t the owners reward the players with that new found $3 billion dollars? That the players made them? Yes, yes they should. The Wilpons sold the Mets for almost 7 times what they paid for it in a mere 20 years.
Also, paying players more doesn’t mean fans pay more. In the last 5 years, the average salary of baseball players has decreased. Have ticket prices?
The New York Rangers: Again, a good coach with a solid system can create a winning culture when surrounded with talented athletes.
The New York Islanders: A coach that works hard to emphasize defense at the point to stifle the offense has faith in Josh Bailey, who magically neither plays offense or defense. Something I learned in research this week- the more time you play Josh Bailey in a game, the statistically more likely you are to miss the playoffs.
The NHL: Maybe it’s time to go back to the 2019-2020 COVID playoff schedule, where everyone makes the playoffs? You screwed up early outbreaks, which benefits present COVID teams. My position is that if you can’t field a team, you should forfeit. But reality says that teams will roll out AHL caliber players and charge you NHL prices. Since you’ll fuck the fans at every turn, collapse the season and give each team a playoff birth. There’s not going to be an NHL player Olympics anyway, so let it fly.
The NFL: Have you seen the state of football in New York? Pretty good, right? Sure, a playoff bubble, but very likely a 10 win team.
But those guys in New Jersey are absolutely terrible. You need to have two pro leagues. One for the good teams, and one for teams trying to get there. Like European soccer.
The NBA: you have the most complicated salary cap in sports. You have a $113 million salary cap. One team follows that. ONE. Five teams are 50% above the cap. Sure it’s a soft cap. But if you have 29 teams ignoring the cap? You need to rewrite the collective bargaining agreement into reality.
The New York Knicks: Last year was fun because you were hard nosed and tough. Then you added soft players in free agency, drafted strong players that you refuse to play, and wonder why you’re losing. You lost your way.
The Brooklyn Nets: You’re not winning a title. Too old, too much Kyrie. Thank you for signing those guys so that the Knicks didn’t look even more dysfunctional.
Alright folks. I’m switching from writing to reading: next up, The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle. Hopefully Buck will hand it out to the players.
As we sit in the rarified time of year where all four major North American sports are rolling, now is as good a time as any to do some quick hits on the New York sports scene, as well as anything else I can fit into a paragraph of a take.
New York Mets: A second year in a row of failing to find a president tells me something: you’re doing it wrong. Yes, a team president can change a culture. But the St. Louis Cardinals have had back to back losing seasons once since 1960, and I’m almost positive that they’ve had more than one team president in that time. Maybe culture starts at the top?
Also, I am available for the GM position. And unlike other GM’s I won’t trade any of the top 5 prospects unless I think they stink.
New York Yankees: Need a shortstop? Wait until a week into free agency, and see what the Mets would take for Francisco Lindor. I get the feeling that you could move a bad contract or two and get a bargain price based on the savings. Maybe move Gerrit Cole’s deal, because without super glue in the glove that deal seems like it’s about to blow up.
New York Rangers: See what happens when you get a good coach? Amazing. Hopefully the Mets take note.
New York Islanders: While you’ve been the most successful team in New York for the last two seasons, realize that’s always a tenuous position. On that theme, Zdeno Chara needs a rest. Time to make that guy a 7th defenseman and give Robin Salo or Samuel Bolduc a chance.
New York Knicks: You need an all star. Watching Julius Randle shoot in the clutch is like watching…Kirstaps Porzingis shoot in the clutch. You need the guy that ends opponent’s rallies. You need the guy that looks forward to getting the ball with 8 seconds left on the clock and the team down by one. You have 4000 draft picks over the next few years. Seems easy to look to move picks and pieces starting with Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robrokenson.
How many times do we need to watch a Knicks 10 point lead evaporate in the last 3 minutes of a game before you address this?
Brooklyn Nets: Trade Kyrie Irving. I get he is wholly overpaid and few teams can afford him. But he is a me first player. Always has been, always will be. No one wins with him unless they have 3 other all stars, and then they don’t even win. A swap with the Sixers for Ben Simmons would help with the salary differential, and Simmons doesn’t need to shoot with James Harden and Kevin Durant willing to throw even more shots up. Plus, Philly hates winning, so Irving will fit in nicely.
New York Giants: You are hard to watch. You need an identity. You wasted a 2nd overall pick on a running back when you had so many more issues. That’s like a homeless guy buying a Ferrari. You can’t even sleep in that, which makes it a total waste.
New York Jets: You are hard to watch. You need an identity. And a new owner. You have a head coach who was a defensive guru, and your defense is absolutely horseshit. You have the second best quarterback in the draft playing like he was chosen in round 5. You’re a dysfunctional franchise.
Jet and Giants: If you merged these two teams into one? They would win 4 games all season. Think about that. Also, call yourself New Jersey, for fucks sake. You’ve been there for 40 years.
All Major Sports: Stop firing people today over things that happened years or decades ago. It’s a stupid practice to use modern standards to not only evaluate the past, but to punish it. Or in many cases, punish it a second time. It’s even dumber to have the people who originally made those initial decisions making new ones that are even worse. Unless you can dig up Hitler’s bones – who actually did bad stuff- and make him apologize? Shut the fuck up, be glad the world is a little better now than it used to be which isn’t much, and then learn what forgiveness is so that we continue progress instead of falling into retroactive justice for none of your concern that makes society even worse than it used to be. Let he or she who is without sin case the first stone, but everyone else? SHUT THE FUCK UP. We’re not chasing Nazi’s hiding from Holocaust crimes. Most of these sins are from emails and tweets that hurt your feelies. Remember that sticks and stones rhyme? Time to grow up.
Besides, why should behavior occurring outside of work affect your job? If your lawn looks bad you should lose your job? If your wife is ugly you should lose your job? How about losing your job when you’re bad at your job, and dealing with personal matters personally?
Sports Teams Across the Nation: It costs $2 to make a t-shirt. Here’s an idea: start selling them to fans at $5. Not all of them- you can have some kind of fancy t-shirt, maybe with frills or flip flop paint or something. But a basic, made in China t-shirt? You give that shit away to fans at games in rocket launchers. Offer fans some free advertising for your awful franchise at low prices as a thank you for putting up with our milking you for every dollar you have while we have a 300 winning percentage offering. You know, actual decency? Instead of firing a guy that said “Ching Chong” 20 years ago? Speaking of, Shaq is still on the air, so get cracking, social justice warriors!
It’s impossible to be a New York Mets fan and not have heard the good news. The Wilpon family-who have been majority owners of the New York Mets since 2002 and part time owners for years before that- sold the team to billionaire investor and probably criminal Steve Cohen for a sum reported to be $2.4 billion dollars. Can you imagine buying a car and spending three years cleaning it, while the other fifteen years you spend your time shitting in that same car?
To think, back in 2002 the Wilpons said “For $400 million we can buy this team, do a horrible job managing it, have three decent seasons over 18 years, and we can sextuple our money when we sell it. During a global pandemic. While all the while we draw income from the team for ourselves, and also get ourselves a new arena paid for by the public AND get ourselves a TV channel so unpopular that no other regional area sports team wants to play on it, largely because they know we won’t pay them.”
We’ve all read about the winding down of the Wilpon Mets era. Well, the winding down of the majority of ownership. They’re still 5% owners of the team, meaning they still have an over $120 million share of the organization, and will partake in 5% of profits, assumedly. Nice pay out for failing.
But this isn’t meant to rehash stuff you’ve read about the sale or the team or anything else. Until Major League Baseball approved the sale of the Mets- and yes, the owners will approve the sale of the Mets because it makes all of their franchises more valuable because major sports teams only gain and never lose value – this is all conjecture. But I expect one thing to happen after the sale of the NY Mets: the sale of SNY.
SNY is the cable channel you can find the Mets on. And that’s about it. It’s one of the shittiest channels on TV, hands down. What brings me to that conclusion? Let me share with you what would happen if I watched SNY from the time I’m writing this through the next roughly 24 hours. Would you find the following programming captivating?
Amateur boxing from 9 to 11 pm
The same 30 minute long sports show from 11 pm until 2 am. One debut with 5 identical repeats.
Paid infomercial- 2:00 am to 2:30 am
Air fryer infomercial- 2:30 am to 3:00 am
Infomercial on medicine- 3:00 to 3:30 am
Different Infomercials 3:30 to 4:00 am, 4:30 to 5 am, 5 to 5:30am, 5:30 to 6 am
Condensed Mets game (they lost by 10) 6 am to 7 am
7 am to 9 am- the same 30 minute highlight show from the night before run four times in a row. Disgusting.
Four 30 minute infomercials 9 am through 11 am
Condensed Mets game (they lost by 10, but at this point it feels like 30) until noon
ANOTHER HOUR of the 30 minute sports highlight show. So far that’s 12 shows of that shit in 16 hours.
1 pm- 3pm Mets Yearbook, for the 1962, 1963, 2015 and 2018 seasons. Three of those years were washouts.
3 pm to 6 pm- A Mets game.
6 to 6:30- Game recap
6:30- 7:30 Documentary on the 2015 trade deadline. They’ve easily shown this shit 400 times
7:30 -8:00pm. Documentary on baseball in the Dominican Republic.
8:00 to 11pm- a replay of the entire game where Wilmer Flores hits a game winning homerun after he was traded and rescinded, but before he was released a few years later.
This is some shit. Who the fuck would buy this? 6 hours of informercials? 25% of the days programming are fucking infomercials. 6 hours of the same 30 minute sports show. Another 25% of the day repeating itself.
3 hours of historical shows. I’m fine with that, actually. 2 hours of replaying a beating they took at the hands of a better opponent. 3 hours of a new game, and 30 minutes of new discussion on the probable loss. 3 hours of a 5 year old game that was a turning point that the team almost didn’t have. And a 30 minute documentary that I’m sure has been repeated 200 times itself.
17% of the day has new material. 25% of the day are infomercials. How is it that Cohen would have to pay for this? You’d think that the Wilpons would have to pay him for taking a pile of shit off of their hands.
And yes, of course the Wilpons are in debt on the TV channel. Allegedly those infomercials and the lack of original content bring in $150 million a year of revenues. I’d bet the largest part is from being packaged as part of a basic cable package, a thing the Mets were 20 years behind the 8 ball in doing. You’d think if you own the team and bring in $150m in revenue you’d be ok? Nah. AMNY reports that the Mets are $850 million in debt in SNY. Meaning gthat the Wilpons are bleeding money out of the TV channel.
Understand that the Mets are partial owners of SNY. So the Wilpons are dragging other people down with them. This matters. SNY is valued at a billion dollars, but has $850m in debt. Mathematically, SNY is worth $150m. Which is more than what Cohen should be paying for a money loser that’s going to perpetually bleed as less and less people watch sports via a cable package and turn to the internet instead.
The Mets are unique at how late into the game they arrived for getting their own channel, and how late into the game they are at content, and how amazingly unprofitable they are at TV, but most of all, they’re just fucking stupid at running a business. Why?
Compare the 26 hour SNY TV schedule with any other viewing option you have. Are you tuning into the same 30 minute talk show 5 or 10 times a day? To the point, lets look at how other local teams handle this same scenario.
The Yankees share their channel in the offseason with the Brooklyn Nets. There are multiple MSG channels for the Knicks, Rangers, Islanders, and Devils. NO LOCAL CHANNEL HAS JUST ONE PRO TEAM. You would think the Mets would say “Jets Islanders Mets fans should have a home…let’s go get the hockey team with our colors for the winter and have a connection with the team we used to share a stadium with, so we’re not running so many shitty infomercials!” But that would mean the Mets would have to top the $25-30 million that the Islanders get for showing up on MSG Plus 5. And when you lose money at every turn because you suck? Well, you’re probably just going to lose more because you suck.
Cohen doesn’t seem to mind spending money. Allegedly he spent as much on a single piece of art as the Wilpons did on the entire Mike Piazza contract. Let that sink in as to what this would mean for the Mets. So while I make it a habit of telling others how to behave professionally in order to look, you know, professional? And I get how Mets fans are so Stokholmed Syndromed to accept losing that everything I write has the impact of a genocide? Yeah, it’s time to expect more. Actually, that time was back in 1988. Like SNY becoming a channel, you’re late to the game for Mets fans who enjoy losing, but it doesn’t mean that you’re losers.
In the end, Cohen will be in negotiations for SNY. That’s great, I guess. I know my cable bill will go up for it. But Cohen needs a separate negotiation first. He needs another pro team, and I have just the one for him: The New York Islanders.
The Islanders have a nice deal from MSG because the Islanders Rangers rivalry was so hot in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s that at that point the 25 year old channel of MSG (told you the Mets were late to the game) gave the Islanders a very rich TV deal. The Rangers owners expected the Islanders to continue being competitive, and that never happened, so the Islanders were using that TV money to prop up a team that was so underpaid that the NHL instituted a salary floor to try to guarantee a product for the fans despite the owners being terrible. Looking at you, Charles Wang. Tim Thomas was an awesome Islander…cap hit.
You do know that at one point under Wang the Islanders had a national TV deal for $13 million and a local TV deal of $25 million on a team payroll that was $43 million and claimed a $20 million loss. If you’re bad at math I’ll help. $38 million of TV money, $43 million of payroll. This NOT considering advertising, the Canadian TV deal, parking lot revenue, T shirt sales, hot dog sales, beer sales, and OH YEAH ticket sales. But if all those streams never existed? $38m is NOT $20m less than $43m. Oh, and then with the NHL adding $5m to the Islanders budget for being a small market team? $43m is the same as $43m. And the Islanders had phantom cap hits not being paid. If you’re concerned with a Cohen organization being fined for insider trading, understand that the Islanders were 20 years ahead of the curve. And the owners got approved, even with one headed to jail.
Oh, does that Wang era and those statutes of limitations! How far we’ve come. There’s even rumors that if the Cohen- SNY negotiations somehow fall apart, the New York Islanders are looking to buy the channel. How far they’ve come.
But with Cohen? He can say to the Islanders- “We make $150 million a year. You can be $50 million of that revenue. It’s nearly double the MSG deal. You stop being on MSG 5 or C-SPAN. You get a home so that no channel surfer has to guess what channel the game is on every night. We get winter ratings without having 5579987 reruns of the David Wright story- which I am certain has been shown more times than we have viewers. And we can sell advertising at higher rates while having live sports, so it won’t actually cost us $50 million. Plus, we look like a legitimate sports channel.”
A second team a must. Lets face it, the Knicks and Rangers ARE MSG network. The Yankees have made the low rent Nets their 5 boroughs partner. The Jets and Giants are major channel properties and unbiddable as a headliner. So what’s left? The orphaned franchise with the same color scheme playing 10 miles away from the newest mess that needs cleaning up.
And the Islanders absolutely need their own TV identity and home. It’s a no brainer.
Cable TV is a changing climate. Thanks to the Netflix model, channels will continue to go ala carte. SNY with one sport can not be a subscription service. SNY needs the Islanders- and probably more than amateur boxing- because the 45 actual classic Mets games will not fill another winter.
And a channel maybe losing money? That may actually help Cohen. For instance, say Cohen’s capital gains and taxable income is $300 million a year. But the Mets lose $300 million in that same year. Well, Cohen is effectively paying no taxes. The Mets can be a cost sink and Cohen will actually make more money from it. Also, sports teams themselves do not lose value, so even if Cohen somehow lost every dollar he has, he’s still a multi-billionaire.
This idea only works if Cohen gets SNY for pennies on the dollar. I’d think assuming the Wilpon debt may be enough to get the deal done. That type of thing never happens you say? Hmm. Didn’t the Islanders buy their practice rink for15% of the cost of actually building it? Yes, yes they did. Sometimes when people are desperate, you take advantage of it. The Wilpons are clearly desperate. They quibbled over keeping a $120 million stake of the Mets, which tells me $120 million means a lot to them. And it may be more than enough cash Cohen may need to buy a TV channel.
There may not have been a better set up team in recent
history than the New York Knicks. Not in ownership. That guy is a fucking
idiot. But in opportunity? The Knicks may be able to turn a corner, and awfully
What’s the genesis of such a thought? There are four,
actually. In no specific order of importance:
New team President
Upcoming new Head Coach
7 first round picks in the next 4 years,
including a guaranteed lottery pick
Salary cap flexibility lacking long term deals
First off, the Knicks made a move to add a team leader,
which considering the results of the last few leadership groups have been
nothing. Not nothing but underwhelming. No, nothing, Absolute zero. Zilch.
But we should look at the sunshine that is behind the dark
clouds of this disaster of a franchise run by a micromanaging douche who walked
into family money and makes maybe the most compelling argument ever that the
inheritance tax is too forgiving. And if Dolan can just keep from being Dolan,
there is still a silver lining.
Let’s start with the new Team President, Leon Rose. Rose is
a successful player agent, which is a growing trend both inside and outside of
the NBA. After all, who can value players while seeing through bullshit inflation
better than an agent? Especially in a time where a decrease in the NBA salary
cap is expected? So Rose is clearly on board to attract names and to change a
culture that looks like a train parking lot carnival, which a $4 billion
franchise frankly should not resemble on any level. And a guy known working
with players in a time when the cap is decreasing may be able to use his cap
space asset now to acquire bad deals from winning teams in return for future
assets from winning teams, or to burn off the remaining bad Knick contracts.
Luckily, Rose has a roster that has nothing but short term
deal. Only one player is under contract three years from now. And their only
buyout will also be burned out by then. So really when it comes to flexibility,
outside of the Julius Randle contract- a guy who was almost traded- there is no
major money in the Knicks near term future. And Randle may be moved next season
if the Knicks are just as bad as the last two seasons.
The choice of General Manager for Rose’s is crucial. Dolan
has been a headline grabber for the Knicks when it comes to acquiring mostly
washed up names for futures or for burnt draft picks- come on, who from the
Carmelo Anthony trade with Denver do you want back? But the GM will be running
the draft, and this is a team that should be building through the draft
hardcore. Here’s why.
Rose’s GM will have two first round picks in 2020. One WILL
be in the lottery. He will have two first round picks in 2021. One will
PROBABLY be in the lottery. Add to it that the one from 2019 was in the
lottery. That’s three consecutive lottery picks. That should be a core.
But wait, there’s more. In 2022? One first round pick SO
FAR. But in 2023? Two more first round picks. That is 7 first rounders in 4
years in a sport with a 12 man roster. Which gets to the next GM question or
Are Kevin Knox and RJ Barrett players you build a team
around? Are they parts of a team you build with? Or are they trade bait for
Let’s start with the veteran Knox. Much like free agent
signing Alonzo Trier, Knox has taken a step back with decreased minutes in a
year where he should have been playing. But Fizzdale, knowing he was coaching
for his career, was absolutely going with his best odds, and not the odds of
the franchise. A lot of coaches on the hot seat do that, giving the finger to
Know inarguable had a huge year over year decline in
production. Also, his per minute play was stagnant. Maybe it’s why you don’t
draft players as freshmen unless they were dominant in college, as their games
are undeveloped. But that creates a different quandary- Is Kevin Knox tradable?
His stats say no. Not for a first round pick, which is the
only way to salvage him. Maybe for an expiring, overblown contract with a
sweetener. But one on one? Knox will get you nothing, so it’s best to burn a
year to blow him up as a focal point of offense, and to create a market for his
game. And ideally to ensure another lottery pick in 2021.
Which brings us to Barrett. Barrett shows flashes of being a
well rounded player. But the guy can’t shoot a free throw. I absolutely wait a
year or two on Barrett before making a decision, because contractually you can-
he has the longest term contract on the team. But also? He seems to fill in
what isn’t going on. If he developes a free throw and a 30+% three point shot?
He could be a swing piece at shooting guard and small forward that would be
worth 36 minutes a night, at a fair price.
But today? Barrett looks like a part, not a whole.
Maybe the biggest deal for the Knicks is a new head coach. You need a coach that will be able to develop but also manage pro egos. I wrote about such here but be sure that you can not underestimate the importance of who the next head coach is. I am happy that David Blatt is in the organization, because in his head coaching career he has been nothing but a winner. Ideally he has input in finding the next Blatt. And let’s not forget it was Blatt who ended the Cav’s franchise titleless streak, not the other guy they fired after.
The takeaway? This will be the best chance for the Knicks to
make moves for the next decade. They will need to draft very well in 2020. They
will need to consider moving their bad deals in the same year. They can maybe
pull off two 1st round picks 4 years in a row with a Randle trade.
That along with cap flexibility would be absolute firepower.
They also maybe have to consider changing coaches two years
from now, from a developmental coach to a pro coach. Or maybe they find a guy
that can do both. No matter how it breaks down, the Knicks are entering a
crucial time in the next few weeks, one that will define this franchise for the
next decade. Which can either make the Knicks super interesting, or save the Knicks
fans plenty of time from having to watch horrible basketball games.
The Knicks disappointing season has led to the firing of
David Fizzdale. From the start Fizzdale
was the wrong hire for the team. He has never proven to be a good coach previously
in his career and frankly never belonged coaching anything in a major market.
Or a minor market. Or in the NBA. Considering all of the candidates available
at the time, his hiring was a head scratcher, but thankfully many of the
positive candidates that were looking for jobs when FIzzdale was hired are
still available, as Fizzdale was fired so quickly into his awful Knicks areer.
Fizzdale’s firing is not the entirely the fault of David Fizzdale.
It’s the fault of the team’s impotent owner, fat fuck James Dolan, and the
shitty front offices that he’s assembled that draft poorly and recruit poorly.
Truth be told, I watch an embarrassingly large number of
basketball games. I have watched the sport from the 1970’s through today. I
have seen many changes in the game over time. Some for the better, most for the
worst, as the league has turned itself from a sport and team game into
globetrotter rosters and promotable movie stars. And that’s the type of coach
the Knicks need: one that can turn the team into the Globetrotters offense. So
let’s look at what’s out there in management and what could help this moribund
organization out of its perpetual suckdom.
David Blatt- already hired as a front office guy. Blatt has
multiple sclerosis, so he probably wants to be in a less physical role. A great
basketball mind, and maybe a replacement for Steve Mills? GM Scott Perry? Both?
Mark Jackson – one of the most prolific point guards in
Knick history, would be a local boy comes home story. Not sure if it would be a
local boy does good story, however. Smart player, would teach floor spacing and
passing, which the Knicks need. But can he teach them his shimmy?
Becky Hammon- No, because she’s a woman. But that’s not
sexism, that’s advice. The NBA took forever just to use female officials, who
are equally as bad as the male ones. But a female head coach in a situation
that’s bound to fail? That will lead to 20 years of women not being considered
for head coaching jobs. I am not saying Hammon is underqualified to coach. If
she has Coach Pop’s endorsement, that’s good enough for me. But she is
overqualified to coach a transient roster with a thus far not exactly franchise
rookie in RJ Barrett as a centerpiece. Wait for the right opportunity, Becky.
Right now? This isn’t it.
Mike Miller- You see this shit he’s running? No. Absolutely
Mark Few- A college coach? Yup. Few has performed miracles
at Gonzaga. He has also worked with NBA players at international tournaments,
so he has connections to some of the better players in the league. And as a
college coach, he is familiar with recruiting so he knows how to talk with
players. A knock against him is that he’s never won a championship, but neither
have the Knicks in a few generations, so maybe baby steps is best? And at age
57, this may be his cash cow and only shot at the pros.
Patrick Ewing- this was suggested by Knicks superfan AMR,
who feels that Ewing’s connection to the team would be a shot in the arm to a
franchise that could maybe use a Hall of Famers touch. Ewing presently is head
coach at his alma mater Georgetown, but has been an NBA assistant so he would
know the grind. Also, Ewing was an outside shooting center long before outside
shooting centers were a thing in the NBA, so he could help mold the young
forwards and Mitchel Robinson into a multi-dimensional offensive player.
Steve Kerr- Already said no once, but with Golden State’s
run over and the ability to poach Draymond Green to jumpstart a presently invisible
defense plus salary cap flexibility and ANOTHER high draft pick? Plus the
salary demands of 4 consecutive finals with 4 wins minus the LeBron rules? That
may be something the Knicks should open checkbooks for.
We are not going to suggest who the Knicks should hire. No matter what advice we offer here, rest assured one thing- the Knicks will fuck things up. Because they always do. Fizzdale’s firing was partly his fault, but it’s not just Jizzdale. It’s the organization. Until they run themselves with a winning expectation and demand accountability from their players and staff, you’re going to have a lot of players developing like Kevin Knox and Frank Ntilikinia- underwhelming and failing to live up to expectations. And the top 5 pick this year will be more of the same.
New York Sports have an unnatural relationship with reality.
Think of it as a super hot female model. Not the cute girls at the bar and local flyer bikini models that made up the last shitty Sports Illustrated calendar. Like a real smokeshow. She walks around and people just do shit for her. Buy her stuff. Act extra nice. And It happens so often that she starts to take it for granted. She expects it. She becomes self-absorbed.
And we all know what happens when that girl loses her looks,
or the next super model takes her place and they fall into obscurity. It’s not
a pretty picture.
The analogy here is that because something is attractive, it often doesn’t feel that is has to work hard. Let me present a specific case of not working hard as you become less attractive: the New York Knicks.
The Knicks haven’t been relevant in 20 years. That wasn’t always true. Between 1993 and 2003, the Knicks appeared in the NBA finals twice, with two different head coaches and two very different teams, philosophically. That actually is a credit to management. Generally a team has a small window with a great lineup. See Golden State… or every team Lebron jumps tat to get all stars to carry his ass.
That the Knicks lost one final (maybe Pat Reilly should have
subbed in Hubert Davis? Its why you lost, bro) and a few years later were back
in the finals to lose with a completely different team – showing that Patrick
Ewing missing lay ups and dunks doesn’t actually matter to a loser franchise- as
long as you reallocate resources.
But between 2001 and today? The most exciting Knicks moment
was a cast off point Harvard educated guard that electrified a city. For
ultimately a go nowhere team.
So we have to look at this body of work- a dead body,
really- and we have to ask- why are the Knicks so horrible?
The answer isn’t so complex. I boil it down to headline
The Knicks under owner James Dolan likes headlines. But not
the right kind, like winning titles. No, he wants everyone to write about the
Knicks, to refer to Madison Square Garden as the Mecca of basketball (wonder
how many basketball fans actually know what Mecca is?) and to keep headlines
because…have you seen the Forbes valuation of the Knicks lately?
$4 billion dollars. FOUR BILLION DOLLARS. For a team that
hasn’t won a title in the lifetimes of most of their fans. The last time the
Knicks were champions Gerald Ford was president.
And how bad are the Knicks? Look at their present crosstown
rivals, the Brooklyn Nets.
The Nets have made the NBA finals twice since the Knicks
made their last appearance. The Nets aren’t able to keep a home, but they have
more success this century than the Knicks have. And since 1974, are 2-2 in
league finals compared to the Knicks 0-2, albeit that the two wins were in the
ABA. But for NBA standards, since 2000 the Nets have at least won a playoff
series- when was the last time the Knicks did that?
The Nets have been vagabonds throughout their existence. Since their NBA arrival in 1976 they’ve called Uniondale NY home, Secaucus NJ home, nearly called Newark NJ home, almost called Westbury NY home, and presently call Brooklyn home. No one wants to keep them! And yet…since 2000, more successful than the Knicks if you look at playoff series wins as a barometer.
This pissees Dolan off. So he wants the backpage of the newspapers by interfering with team management so trade for superstars, or stars, or by leading the league in ejecting alumni, or anything that gets a headline to disrupt his losing. Speaking of losing, how have the Knicks done with coaches?
I’m pretty sure the last good Knicks coach was Jeff Van Gundy. You could argue Larry Brown was a good coach, but certainly not in his Knicks tenure. The Knicks are presently looking at new and exciting head coaches, some with limited experience. And the first experience all of these guys get? Losing. Fizzoutdale sucks.
Same goes for the front office. Phil Jackson was an
incredible NBA coach. And was an imbecile as a team President with the Knicks.
The sole good draft move Jackson made was Kirstaps Porzingis, who he promptly
alienated and ultimately read about demanding a trade. Why read about it?
Because his ass was already kicked out the door, having done nothing but lose
in his Knicks tenure.
But the management in between? Isiah Thomas did a fantastic
job as team President and GM, and even better as head coach. The Eddy Curry and
Zach Randolph trades comes to mind, as do all those bad free agent contacts to
players like Jerome James and Jarred Jefferies. Then there’s that weird $11.5
million deal he gave to Anucha Brown Sanders. I don’t know what that’s about
but it can’t be good.
And amazingly, after the sexual harassment claim from Sanders, Dolan hired Thomas to run the New York women’s basketball team, the Liberty. This is the lack of judgement that makes the Knicks losers. Guess you can’t sexually harass a lesbian? It did get headlines, which is what Dolan wants.
Every team in sports looks to point to a golden age, but I’m
a fan of the “what have you done for me lately” school of thought. And what
have the Knicks done lately?
Be bad enough to miss the playoffs, but not bad enough to get a solid lottery pick? And why not? Because unlike say the New York Mess (not a typo) the Knicks will drop money at free agents. Where they do a terrible job with such- hi Joakim Noah! But just enough to make sure they’re picking somewhere after the top ten.
This past Knicks season had some promise because they were absolutely fucking horrible and had so many expiring contracts that they would finally be able to be big game hunters in free agency. And you know what happened? Knicks gotta Knick.
They lost the draft lottery. So as fans suffered all season with that little glimmer of hope for a brighter future, the Knicks couldn’t even lose right. Now I am NOT saying that RJ Barrett is a bust, and in fact he seems to have the trust of the organization as their highest draft pick since Patrick Ewing. But at the same time…he can’t hit free throws? WTF. Every game the Knicks lose by 3 or less will 100% be Barretts fault for sucking at fundamentals. He went to Duke. He should know better.
Luckily for him, the Knicks are usually blown away by much
larger margins of failure.
The other part of the Knicks past season that gave them promise was the two 1st round draft picks that the Knicks got from Dallas for Porzingis. But you know what? Luka Doncic will make sure those first rounders are somewhere in the 20’s. The Knicks best hope is to package those two picks and see if they can get to a top ten pick, because a bench isn’t going to help this mess. All they do is draft bench. Mitchell Robinson, Kevin Knox, Frank Tkinilikiniaiah- but not Alonso Trier. No, he was undrated but the Knicks signed him because he was buddies with Kevin Durant. That’s the way to woo a guy.
Because Kevin Durant was leaving Golden State to hang out
with an undrafted college kid. An undrafted college kid.
Oh, that was the other thing. The summer of 2019 free agency
splurge! Who were the Knicks getting? Durant? Anthony Davis? Kyrie Irving? A
combination? All three?
Howabout this- Knicks gotta Knick. They got fucking nothing. A bunch of castoffs that are serviceable NBA players, but no leadership. And their coach? David Jizzdale? That wasn’t a typo either. Will he lead? Has he ever? Guy is a career loser as a head coach. How he has a job is not only staggering, but also lends to explain why the Knicks are just perennial losers.
But boy did they get headlines. The next one will be for firing the coach.
So that’s a lot of bitching. What about a positive? How do
we fix this?
First step- James Dolan needs to sell the team. He has $4
billion reasons to. Take the money and play with your shitty jam band. You’ve
done enough. And not in the good way. Shit, the Nets sold their team and shitty
arena over a billion, and the Los Angeles Clippers went for $2 billion. Take
the money and go ruin something else.
Next step? You have a $4 billion franchise. Invest 1% in a head coach, GM, front office, and scouting staff. Maybe 1.5%. That’d be $40 to $60 million dollars. You know what you’d get? The top head coach and the top GM in the NBA taking a massive salary. You have a salary cap on players, but on coaches? Not so much. Yes, there are some staffing limits that apply to the players cap, but that doesn’t fall on coaches.
Next step? Draft well. That’s why you have scouts. And free
agents? Be selective. Have a five year plan. Reevaluate that plan after every
game. Do not be afraid to make trades, but always weigh the trade offs and
opportunity costs in keeping an asset and moving an asset. Maybe hire a team
economist and a team cap expert? Look at the present model that’s working- teams
effectively shooting the three- and emulate that, but figure out what the next
trend is- maybe defense comes back? Maybe it’s three point plays at a higher
percentage shot? Maybe it’s a ten second offense? But for the Knicks, we know
what isn’t winning- what they’ve been doing for almost 20 years.
Time for a change, Knick fans, or else it will be more of the same. Or more to the point, Knicks Gotta Knick.
*This article was written while watching two consecutive Thanksgiving time Knicks losses- to be fair, consecutive Knicks losses can happen at any time- but was inspired by Knicks superfan and the creator of the term “Jizzdale,” AMR.