New & Improved!
I'm debuting a new format for the newsletter today. Plus, an update on Scott Perry and the Kings.
Good morning (and sorry for the late edition)! The draft lottery is now under 60 hours away, which means we’re about to officially re-enter what I’m calling a “normal” Knicks news cycle.
You know how this goes: two straight months of speculation over what New York will do with its pick, as well as free agent speculation and who’s going to be filling out the coaching staff. In addition, we should be getting some type of offseason training activities involving the current roster. Before you know it, whatever abbreviated offseason we’re getting will have come and gone, and Knicks basketball will be on its way to returning in full - or whatever version of it the ‘20-21 NBA season will contain.
Given how much is likely to be going on from here on in (and how folks don’t have time every day to read my poetic waxing), I’m formalizing the format of the newsletter a bit, starting today. There will be a few standard sections at the beginning of every one, including “Ask Macri,” in which I’ll answer one of the many Twitter questions thrown my way on a daily basis. Then, on most days, you’ll see my usual piece that you’ve come to expect. Today will be an exception, but on days where I don’t have a “column,” per se, I think you’ll still get your fill.
If anyone has any suggestions or comments, as always, feel free to email KFSMailbag@gmail.com. Without further ado…
News & Notes
Knicks President Leon Rose will represent the team (virtually, of course) at Thursday night’s draft lottery. Rumor has it that his good luck charm will the severed head of Khartoum.
According to Adam Zagoria, longtime Tom Thibodeau assistant coach Ed Pinckney will not be joining Thibs with the Knicks, while Mike Woodson and Mike Miller “remain favorites” to be assistants this year. It’s rare that an established head coach doesn’t bring a few old assistants with him in a new job, but with Pickney out, Rick Brunson having left Minnesota under less than ideal circumstances, and Adrian Griffin in line for a head coaching job (if he can escape some recent disturbing claims made against him), there aren’t many old Thibodeau comrades left aside from Andy Greer, who has most recently coached with Team USA.
According to Seth Partnow of The Athletic, Brock Aller will be making some more hires in the Knicks strategy/analytics department in the near future. This comes on the heels of Kelsey Roberts officially joining the analytics staff.
Potential Knicks free agent target Fred VanVleet went for 30 & 11 (on just 15 shots) in Toronto’s whitewashing of Brooklyn on Monday. In the first playoff game, the other apple of many a Knick fan’s eye, Donovan Mitchell, went for 57 in Utah’s OT loss to Denver. It was the third highest playoff scoring output ever. I think we can put any trade discussions on hold for now.
Meanwhile, KP got baited into a questionable tech by OAKAAK Marcus Morris and was ejected late in the Mavs’ Monday loss to the Clippers. You hate to see it. He finished his playoff debut with 14 points and six boards in 20 minutes.
According to a league source, Scott Perry and the Kings have been in touch since Sacramento’s front office shakeup, one which saw Vlade Divac and Peja Stojakovic depart, and Joe Dumars - who Perry worked with in Detroit - step in as the Vice President of Basketball Operations. Perry, of course, had that exact title with the Kings for about three months when he was hired away by Steve Mills to be general manager of the Knicks.
Should Knick fans be bothered by the thought of Perry leaving? I’ve been as harsh a critic of Perry as anyone, but he’s also been heading up their draft prep, and the notion of disrupting that apple cart so close to the draft is not a pleasant one. I’ve also been told that he’s the individual in the Knicks front office that is trusted the most by the current players, and specifically by RJ and Mitch.
Perry may be a bit too old school for my liking, but he knows what he’s doing and did a lot to repair the image of the team around the league. He’s also, I’m told, been all-in on getting this thing going in the right direction since Leon arrived. So while he may not be the long-term answer at GM, all things considered, it’s probably for the best if he doesn’t depart for Sacramento in the near future.
And FWIW, I don’t think he will. He likes it here in New York and has expressed a desire to stay and be a part of the Rose regime. But as always, money (and job security) walks and bullshit talks. We’ll see what happens.
Want to relive a miserable lotto night with me? Here’s my personal tale of woe from 2015. It involves beer.
LeBron James had a call to action yesterday, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Knicks talk themselves into DeRozan this summer, but there’s a few reasons this trade won’t happen (even though it technically could).
For one, sign-and-trades occur when a free agent wants to sign elsewhere but the team he’s leaving doesn’t want to risk losing him for nothing. The nature of the transaction, then, dictates that the player they’re getting back in the deal is someone who they would actually want. Even if LaMarcus Aldridge wasn’t still on San Antonio’s roster, I can’t imagine the Spurs would have much interest in Randle on his current contract.
The other reason to do a sign-and-trade is so a team can get a player under a contract that they wouldn’t be able to sign him to themselves. In DeMar’s case, that would be a five-year pact (what San Antonio can offer) as opposed to a four-year one (the most any other team can offer). I can’t fathom New York has any interest in committing this many years to a player who is almost certainly on the downside of his career, even considering the outstanding season he just had.
But DeMar is damn good, and the .535 eFG% he just put up easily represents the best of his career. He might not be the best free agent this offseason, but there’s an argument that he’ll have the best season in 2020-21 of anyone who will hit the market. That said, the player option he would need to decline to hit that market is for nearly $28 million.
That would mean for him to leave, realistically, he’d need to be signed for at least two years and for a number that wouldn’t decrease his annual salary by too much. Could he be had for, say, two years, $50 million? Or three years, $60 million, but with a decreasing salary and a small partial guarantee in the 3rd year? Neither of those sound particularly palatable.
The other issue besides the contract is that DeRozan, for all his talent, makes little sense on a Knicks roster that is currently devoid of shooting (he made just nine 3-pointers this season). Even if he’s moved back to the wing from the power forward spot he was thriving in in the bubble, DeRozan needs to be flanked by at least two plus shooters (and probably three) to make any sense. The Knicks currently have…
But if they found another home for Randle, and if they signed a stretch four and if they got a starting point guard who defenses had to respect from the outside, then yes, maybe it could work.
That’s a lot of “if’s” though. I don’t see it happening.
That’s it for today! See everyone with another new & improved newsletter very soon. #BlackLivesMatter.