(l-r : Donnie Walsh, transfixed by a Linas Kleiza highlights DVD, James Dolan, realizing the answer to the question “who do I have to fuck to open for White Denim at Radio City Music Hall” is actually “James Dolan”)
While the Clippers and Wizards’ recent moves have represented pulling the plug on 2010 and breaking up a core, respectively, the Knicks are allegedly hoping to exchange Al Harrington and Jordan Hill for either Chicago’s Tyrus Thomas or Houston’s chronically injured Tracy McGrady. As the former publisher of The Feed, NBC.com’s Josh Alper, correctly surmises, taking on T-Mac is almost entirely dependent on dumping Jared Jeffries’ and the $6.9 million he’s scheduled to earn in 2010-2011 on the Rockets.
The downsides — the potential loss of Hill and a 2012 first rounder — won’t matter a whit if the Knicks hit a home run in free agency. They might not even matter much if they were to miss out on the LeBron/Wade/Bosh triumvirate and wind up with a couple of lesser options. Those lesser options could still get you in the playoffs, negating a good bit of any value lost in the first round swap in 2011. Beyond that, the Knicks will have Eddy Curry’s expiring contract to play with and some leftover cap space to use in a bid for Chris Paul in the next offseason or other moves designed to build the team’s long-term profile. The downside, then, isn’t exactly a two week honeymoon in Detroit.
Then there’s the upside. Let’s say the Knicks make this deal and the Cavs pull off a deal for Amare Stoudemire and re-sign him and LeBron. If you’re trying to sell your team to Wade or Bosh or Joe Johnson, what argument do you make that either one of them by themselves is going to be enough to get past the Cavs in the East? There isn’t a particularly good one out there, but if you can sell them on doing it together, well, then you’ve got something.
When you weigh the chance to sell two superstars on playing together in New York against the loss of Hill and a 2012 first round pick you simply have to come down on the side of making the bold, risky play.