Mandel’s Musings – Knicks and Nets Have Contrasting Styles and Rosters

Published on: 3rd July, 2010

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New York – Interesting that the Knicks believe Mike Miller is a suitable alternative for Joe Johnson. Can he shoot? Sure. Can he do anything else on the court? Uh, not really. Will he score a little more in D’Antoni’s system? Who doesn’t?

Does anybody believe David Lee, nice player that he is, will go for 20 and 11 rebounds next year, on someone else’s team? Maybe, if it’s a bad team, like the Knicks.

Much more interesting is what is going on in New Jersey. That’s a team on the come. Lopez, Favors, Harris, Terrence Williams, Courtney Lee…Very good young core that is one star away from being an upper echelon team in the Eastern Conference. Better still, they’ve propped up JayZ as the co-face of the franchise to NBA free agents and to fans (see billboard outside of MSG), in my view, a very hip move on their part.

Imagine the dichotomy and the image in LeBron’s mind after he spent a few hours with the Big Russian and Jay then, the Knicks wheeled-in Donnie Walsh and Jim Dolan (who must have felt completely out of place in that room). Bringing Alan Houston to these meetings isn’t exactly the same as bringing Magic Johnson, know what I mean? I’ll tell you who would have been a better choice than Houston, if he agreed to come and if the Knicks had maintained a better relationship with him since he retired. Charles Oakley. Tough, direct, no bs, and from Cleveland, of all places. LeBron would have loved Oak.

Is it just me or is ESPN intentionally minimizing any chance of New York being a player in the LeBron sweepstakes? In the several moments I’ve gotten to know one of their basketball “experts,” Chris Broussard, when he and I were both covering Knicks games at MSG, he has always been a pleasant, fun guy to hang around with. When I would tell him about my sources in Cleveland having The King coming to NYC to play next season, it would always ruffle his feathers. I didn’t get why until Chris told me he’s an Ohio kid, born and raised. Although he didn’t admit to having a bias against all things NY, I think that comes through clearly in every article he writes for espn.com and every word he utters on the tube about NBA free agency. Broussard goes to great lengths NOT to mention the Knicks in his pieces. He will go into detail as to why the Newark Nets and Bulls, and the Clippers are right in there for LeBron’s services but as for the team in the largest basketball and media market in the world? Uh uh, nary a mention.

Memo to Broussard: LeBron is just as interested now in the health of Danilo Gallinari’s back, Wilson Chandler’s ankle, and now, Amar’e Stoudamire’s knees and eyes as he was last year when he began his due diligence about the Knicks as a potential landing spot for the rest of his career.

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