Donnie Walsh said in the press conference announcing his departure from the Knicks’ president job that the team’s objective was to build supporting players around Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony. He acknowledged the difficulty of that given the salary constraints of having two stars, but also made it clear that it wasn’t about a third star, but about support for those two. And yet, talks continued regarding the possible acquisition of Chris Paul or Dwight Howard. But when the Knicks landed Tyson Chandler in a sign-and-trade, it became apparent that they have a commitment to actually building an entire team.
That approach is continuing on Sunday, as the Knicks are pursuing a three-team sign-and-trade to acquire Jamal Crawford from the Hawks, according to the New York Post. Toney Douglas is one piece leaving for New York in the talks.
So is Crawford a seamless fit? Absolutely not. The Knicks need a pure-point creator, a low-usage guy who can run the offense, not turn it over, and create shots for other players. Crawford is very much none of those things. He’s a high-usage scorer who does not have terrific playmaking abilities. He’s 31-years-old and his defense has never been excellent.
But he played decent enough defense in Atlanta, and he makes a high-octane offense that much better. The sign-and-trade will get Crawford the kind of money he wants, or at least more than he would have made getting the MLE from New York. He can handle the ball and he’s going to be killer on kickout when a double comes versus Melo or STAT.
There’s a lot to question about this move, but New York’s limited in its options, it’s a weak year for point guards, and Crawford’s one of the best left on the market. New York doesn’t have a solid all-around team (their bench will be an absolute nightmare), but they’ve done what they said. They’re building around the two stars.
Wednesday night in Boston Gordon Hayward underwent surgery to repair his dislocated ankle and fractured tibia suffered just five minutes into the season-opening game, a gruesome injury that put a pall over the rest of the night.
There had been hope from some Celtics fans that Hayward could return this season, likely for the playoffs, but now that the surgery is complete Hayward’s agent told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN not to expect him back until next season.
This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who saw the injury. Hayward is in the first year of a four-year deal with the Celtics, they were always going to choose a cautious path rather than rush him back. Under Danny Ainge Boston has always taken the long view, even with all their moves this summer — specifically bringing in Hayward and Kyrie Irving — the target was to be the team set up for next as LeBron James and the Cavaliers faded. That plan does not change now.
Earlier in the day, Hayward had sent a video message out to Celtics fans thanking them for their support in the past 24 hours.
Without Hayward, the Celtics now will focus more on smaller lineups, rookie Jayson Tatum will get more run, as will Marcus Smart in his contract year. Jaylen Brown will be thrust into a more significant role. Also, Kyrie Irving will be asked to do more as the team’s second-best playmaker is now out for the season.
The Celtics will take a step back this season without Hayward, who was going to be crucial for them on both ends of the floor. That’s evidenced by their 0-2 start, falling to the Cavaliers and Bucks on the first couple nights of the season. Boston should still be a team well above .500 and in the playoffs, but they will not be quite the same this season.
Any controversy over C.J. McCollum‘s suspension for the season-opener should be put to rest. The Trail Blazers fared fine without him.
More than fine.
Portland beat the Suns, 124-76, Wednesday. The 48-point margin is the largest ever in a season opener, even as the Trail Blazers let a 58-point fourth-quarter lead dwindle.
Here are the most lopsided season-openers in NBA history (openers for both teams appearing twice):
The 48-point defeat is also the Suns’ worst lost in franchise history, topping a 44-point loss to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1988. It could be a long year in Phoenix.
Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova thrive on aggravating opponents, so when matched up, of course they aggravated each other.
Deduct points from Smart for pulling the hold-me-back charade behind a referee. Plus, Dellavedova’s Bucks beat Smart’s Celtics, 108-100.
The Nets’ projected record this season came under greater scrutiny when the Celtics traded Brooklyn’s unprotected first-round pick to the Cavaliers in the Kyrie Irving trade. After finishing third-to-last and last the previous two years, were the Nets poised to take a step forward, or would they convey a very high pick to the Cavs?
Jeremy Lin, who missed 46 games last season, getting healthy was a reason for optimism in Brooklyn and pessimism in Cleveland. But it appears the veteran guard could be out a while.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Billy Reinhardt of Nets Daily:
If the injury is as bad as feared, what a bummer for Lin. He came to Brooklyn expecting to play a leading role on a developing team, and he just can’t stay healthy.
The Nets were probably more focused on developing their younger players, but – especially without their own draft picks – there was no harm in shooting for the playoffs. This appears to a blow to that (already unlikely) dream.
It’s a boon to the Cavaliers, though. And whenever something significantly affects LeBron James‘ team, it has ramifications into the entire power dynamic of the Eastern Conference. For an injury to a player on a team most expect to be bad, the medical developments here will be tracked closely around the league.