Chauncey Billups may not be the ideal point guard for a Mike D’Antoni offense, but he’s the best point the Knicks has had in a long time.
So the Newsday report that the team plans on picking up the $14.2 million extension for Billups next season is not a surprise. (The Knicks could buy him out of that deal for $3.5 million.)
What is a surprise is that they may keep him on even longer and extend the deal of the 35-year-old.
The thinking is that Billups could be exactly what they need as a leader to direct the offense with star players Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire. And if they can sign him to a reasonable contract extension, it would allow the team to have a decent amount of money left over to make upgrades in other areas of the roster via free agency….
Until Billups arrived, the belief was that the Knicks would use their cap space in 2012 to target a star point guard such as Chris Paul or, if he doesn’t sign an extension with the Nets, Deron Williams. But the belief within the Knicks’ organization is that Billups, who keeps himself in terrific condition, still can play at a high level well into his late 30s, like Jason Kidd and Steve Nash. Considering that Anthony (26) and Stoudemire (27) are in their prime years with four years left on their respective contracts, the Knicks would be looking to get the most out of Billups until he is 38.
The problem is the Knicks really have no idea how much cap space they will have in 2012 because nobody knows what the new Collective Bargaining Agreement will look like. Paul and D-Will may be a better fit and better players, but if the Knicks can’t sign them, it’s moot. Meanwhile, Billups has proven a quality asset.
Essentially, a point guard in the hand is worth two in the market.
Lonzo Ball bypasses open layup for no-look backward bounce pass, leaves Luke Walton staring into abyss (video)
Lonzo Ball missed a layup early last night. That might have made him overthink later, when he was ahead of the pack on another fastbreak. Instead of shooting the open layup, Ball bounced the ball behind him without looking, leading to a turnover and open Heat 3-pointer.
On the bright side for the Lakers, they still beat Miami.
On the bright side for us, we got this great Luke Walton reaction GIF:
LeBron James says he was referring to only arena, not consideration of signing with Knicks
LeBron James said in reference to his "here or the Garden" comment that no other venue could have held this final duel between LeBron and Wade other than those two venues. (Not that he was thinking of signing with the #Knicks)
This was always the most likely explanation. The arenas in Los Angeles in New York are the NBA’s biggest stages, and LeBron has repeatedly stated his affection for Madison Square Garden. He didn’t have to think through all the implications to say those were the only appropriate locations.
Ultimately, I believe the given explanation that this was just about the arena’s allure and nothing more. An offhand remark needn’t completely follow the logic that either LeBron or Wade must play for the Knicks for them to meet at Madison Square Garden. But I’m not completely sold this wasn’t a passive-aggressive dig at the Knicks.
Kings player after beating Bulls: ‘Uh-oh, another 2 1/2-hour practice for them tomorrow’
Including when Wade thanked LeBron for seeing that their last game was played at Staples Center, one of the legendary venues of the league. But it was LeBron’s response that turned heads:
“It was either here or The Garden. That’s it.”
Did the Knicks actually have a shot at LeBron last summer?
It doesn’t seem that way, considering LeBron made his decision to go to Los Angeles within 24 hours of the official start of free agency. There was no meeting with the Knicks, no serious contact in any way.
What LeBron was referring to (I think) was having their final game in one of the two brightest spotlights, one of the two most legendary venues in the NBA. Madison Square Garden and Staples Center have a vibe before Knicks and Lakers games that just doesn’t exist anywhere else — even when their teams are bad the venues are special and guys raise their games. It’s a combination of the markets, the big fan bases, and the history of the franchises, and the buildings (Shaq and Kobe basically built Staples Center). Much like a baseball game at Yankee Stadium/Fenway Park/Wrigley Field, there’s just something special about it that’s hard to quantify. It’s just different there.
That’s why the final game for LeBron and Wade had to be in Los Angeles or New York.
But Knicks fans, go ahead and dream of what might have been.