Trading Deadline Approaches As Knicks Lose To Bulls Again

Published on: 18th February, 2010

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Knicks President Walsh
Trading Deadline Approaches As Knicks Lose To Bulls Again

Donnie Walsh, new president of the New York Knicks basketball team, speaks during a news conference in New York, Wednesday April 2, 2008. The Knicks hired the longtime Indiana Pacers executive and gave him complete power to oversee basketball operations of a team finishing its seventh straight losing season. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)  | read this item

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Knicks Walsh Remains Coy As Trade Deadline Approaches

New York – These next few hours are crucial to the future of the Knicks, the Madison Square Garden Corporation, and Knicks fans who have loyally supported more than 10 years of putrid basketball in the city that likes to call itself the home of the “city game.” Basketball, that is.

The NBA trading deadline is upon us, with the deadline set for 3:00 pm, Thursday.

This is the time of year when, in most cases, losing teams attempt to re-construct their rosters through the good, old-fashioned swapping of bodies. If the Knicks are successful in these next few hours at pulling off the deals they’ve been feverishly working on for weeks, they will have reached the mother lode of salary relief for this coming summer’s assault on the NBA’s soon to be available free agents. 

In the old days, trading was designed to create a different mix of personnel for teams. Changing the chemistry or adding talent to areas of weaknesses were usually the primary objectives. That’s not so much the case these days in this new era of salary caps and the importance of freeing up financial space to accommodate future free-agent stars when their current contracts expire with their teams.

Take the New York Knicks, for instance. It’s been well-known for the past year and a half, or since the time the new management regime of general manager Donnie Walsh and head coach Mike D’Antoni took over this struggling franchise, that the sole goal was to cut all of the high-salaried players from their rosters through trades or releases so that they could have the salary space to make huge offers to the big NBA free-agents who will be available as of the last day of this current season. Players like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Joe Johnson, and Amare Stoudamire will all be available sometime in June, the second the last ball is bounced on this season.

Walsh and D’Antoni have known all along their calendars would be pointing towards this summer, when they would finally get the chance to re-make this once-proud franchise by getting an infusion of talent onto the roster that hasn’t been seen in these parts in more than a generation. They’ve both learned how to spin the truth about their true strategy, for the purpose of making Knicks fans believe they weren’t sacrificing last season or this one. They both understand how important it is for the Knicks to hold onto their paying season-ticket customers, none of whom are interested in paying top dollar for a poor product. Yet, that’s exactly what the Knicks have continued to be, a poor, putrid product that has been a league joke for years.

Speaking with Walsh tonight after another Knicks loss to the Chicago Bulls at home, he tried very hard to say that he couldn’t say anything about the trades hanging over the franchise’s head, namely the rumored Nate Robinson move to the Celtics that’s been heating up for several days and the much talked-about Tracy McGrady acquisition by the Knicks from the Houston Rockets that has had a burst of Twitter-induced momentum over the past few days. Walsh is hoping both deals will get done, allowing the Knicks free reign to go out and sign not one but two premium free-agents at the maximum salary allowed by the NBA, 20.195 million dollars per year. 

“I feel optimistic about some of it, not all of it,” he said. “I’m not going to go into any trades until their done because I’ve done this too long and it can be over in a minute.”

“I’m not trying to be coy,” he added, quite coyly.

“I don’t know how many trades I have alive” he added. “You don’t know that until you get a yes from the other team. I’m not being coy, I told you from Day One I wasn’t going to talk about this,” he said, trying not to be coy, once again. 

The McGrady trade is the one Walsh is keeping his fingers crossed on. The rumor mill has McGrady coming to New York in exchange for Jared Jeffries (whose two year contract would then come off the Knicks books), Larry Hughes (an expiring contract), and a number one draft choice. Houston newspapers have been whispering that the Rockets are also asking for Jordan Hill, the Knicks number one draft choice in 2009, an element of the deal Walsh is believed not to be prepared to cave on.

During tonight’s game, Jeffries was removed from the game with what was labeled by Knicks P.R., a sore knee. That makes both principals in any Knicks dealings, Nate Robinson (“hospitalized” with the flu) and Jeffries have mysteriously come down with sickness and disease as the deadline approaches. Perhaps, the Knicks are trying to protect their trade interests.

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