With talks between the Knicks and the Rockets as serious as any other trade discussions out there, Donnie Walsh’s 2010 vision may finally be coming into focus. On a very basic level, it’s golden: Walsh draws on using the biggest market and the biggest stage the NBA has to offer, not to mention some solid young complementary talent, to lure in two of the free agent class’ elite stars.
But if the Knicks end up completing a deal for Tracy McGrady with the other principles of the reported trade staying in place, the Knicks won’t have anything in the way of a back-up plan. From Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:
It’s a great deal for the Knicks if they can get either LeBron James or
Dwyane Wade. If not, they wouldn’t have much to build around in terms
of young talent. Hill would be with Houston, the Jazz own the Knicks
2010 first round pick and the Rockets would get the Knicks picks in 2012.
While trading for McGrady would indeed open up the cap room to potentially sign two big-name, big-game free agents, what would be left of the rest of the roster? Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, and Toney Douglas are the only current Knicks under contract for next season, supposing Jared Jeffries indeed has one foot out the door and Eddy Curry remains glued to the bench. The Knicks won’t even have the promise of Jordan Hill, nor any future opportunities at a mulligan as they’re essentially forfeiting their involvement in the first round of the draft until 2013, with the sole exception being the 2011 first round pick of a consistently impressive Rockets team.
If the Knicks could somehow land LeBron, Wade, and/or Bosh, other free agents would follow. But without having two huge talents carrying the load on a nightly basis, how would the Knicks find a way to be anything other than middling? And considering that Walsh’s 2010 plan essentially boils down to gambling on the attractiveness of NYC and the Garden (the former of which means less than you’d think in the internet age) against actually competitive basketball cores in other free agent destinations, isn’t sending out all of the Knicks’ first-rounders for the near future a decidedly bad idea? The Knicks’ fans have been promised a shot in the 2010 free agent lottery, but the price Walsh pays for that opportunity could backfire and doom New York for years to come.
For the second consecutive year, the Warriors have lost their lead assistant to another team. When the Pelicans hired Alvin Gentry during last year’s playoffs, Steve Kerr promoted Luke Walton to associate head coach and added former journeyman big man Jarron Collins to the bench. Now that Walton is headed to the Lakers as their next head coach, the Warriors will go outside the organization to find a replacement, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. And one name that will likely not be in the mix is David Blatt, who very nearly became an assistant under Kerr in 2014 before being offered the Cavaliers’ head job.
Given Walton’s success this season as interim head coach while Kerr recovered from back surgery, this will undoubtedly be the most attractive assistant job in the league.
In the last few years, NBA head coaching salaries have skyrocketed, and new Lakers coach Luke Walton is no exception. According to the Los Angeles Times‘ Mike Bresnahan, Walton is getting $25 million over five years, which is the same as Steve Kerr’s deal with the Warriors, now-former Knicks coach Derek Fisher’s deal in New York, and Fred Hoiberg’s deal with the Bulls.
This kind of money has become standard for head coaches who don’t also have front-office power. Tom Thibodeau and Stan Van Gundy both get between $7 and $8 million annually to do both jobs. Given how good Walton’s current situation with the Warriors is, the Lakers probably had to be on the high end of the coaching spectrum to get him to leave.
On Friday night, the Lakers announced that they’re hiring Luke Walton as their next head coach, effective as soon as the Warriors’ playoff run is over. It’s a good hire, but it’s especially interesting given Walton’s close relationship with Phil Jackson and the rumors that never seem to go away, that Jackson might be set up to return to the Lakers to run the team alongside fiancée Jeanie Buss after next season, when he has an opt-out in his contract with the Knicks.
But that doesn’t mean Walton will be running the triangle, as he said in his first comments to reporters since the news broke.
Via the Orange County Register‘s Bill Oram:
Regardless of whether Jackson eventually gets back in the picture in Los Angeles, Walton has been a successful assistant in Golden State and has the right temperament to lead the Lakers into the post-Kobe era.
Stephen Curry might be back sooner than expected. It’s been one week since he suffered the sprained MCL in his right knee that led the Warriors to rule him out for at least two weeks, but head coach Steve Kerr said Saturday that there’s at least an outside chance he could play Tuesday in Game 2 of Golden State’s second-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Via ESPN.com’s Marc Stein:
Obviously, the smart money is on Curry not playing this early in his timetable. But the fact that it’s even on the table would seem to indicate that, barring a setback, he’ll be back for at least some of the series, which tips off Sunday.