Friday, November 21, 2008

Knicks' Donnie Walsh Had Too Many Dogs

As a kid, the closest thing I ever had to a pet was a little sister (sorry Sam). Air Bud showed me at a young age that all it took to gain the adoration of your peers was a Golden Retriever who could dunk a basketball with his nose. Needless to say, I was infatuated with the idea of finding a partner in crime and using him to get in and out of sticky situations, much the same way Michelle Tanner used Comet in Full House (what crazy schemes that Olson twin cooked up. This, of course, was before she learned to cook up other things).
Day after day, I pleaded with my parents to get me that dog.
"You're too young," my dad would say.
Finally, on my eighth birthday, more than likely to end the constant badgering, my family came around: "Steve, on your tenth birthday we'll get you a dog."
The next two years of my life were blissful. Daydreaming about dogs in sunglasses and puck-handling golden retrievers, I had little a care in the world (other than my concerns over why any Ninja Turtle would choose purple as his badge of honor).
The day was finally approaching-- November 13, 1995.
My birthday list read as follows:
1) Dog leash
2) Dog collar
3) Dog house
4) Dog pen
5) One eight ball slammer to complete the ultimate pog collection.
November 13 came and went. My soccer party was a big hit and there was even an extra goody bag for me (thank you for not showing up Allan Amusen). Still, no dog. I was sure, however, that at some point, a young Golden Retriever would come scampering out of my mom's minivan. But the afternoon turned to evening--nothing. Time to unwrap the gifts...
"Awesome... the collective works of Rafi. How'd you know guys? Does anybody have a cassette player so we can rage to rising smash hit "Brush your teeth?"
My birthday came and went and so too did my confidence in getting a dog. It never showed.
The moral of the story: Don't count your chickens before they hatch.
Apparently, that's a lesson New York Knicks General Manager Donnie Walsh never learned. He had four dogs as a kid and they were all great at sports-- spoiled bastard.
Seldom has that moral been more relevant than it is today.
As ESPN the Magazine's Rick Bucher confirmed early Friday morning, " The Golden State Warriors and the New York Knicks have received league approval to complete a trade that will swap disgruntled Warriors forward Al Harrington for Knicks guard Jamal Crawford."
As a die hard Knicks fan, I find myself baffled. Was Walsh drinking the same shot of Jamo that Steinbrenner was when he offered a record high contract to CC Sabathia (see below article-- Big Pimpin Baseball in the Bronx)?
Of course, there is one underlying factor that was clearly the catalyst for what would appear otherwise to be an absurd blunder of a trade. Why else would the New York Knicks trade their all-star caliber shooting guard for a head case like Harrington, who has spent the majority of the season on the bench hampered by a back injury (see Danilo Gallinari)? After playing in only five games, the disgruntled Warrior has averaged 12.4/ 5.6 rebounds a game compared to Crawford's 19.6 in a Mike D'antoni offense that is much better-suited for a run-N-gun player like Jamal.
And don't the Knicks already have enough side-show acts to take over the Big Apple Circus, which appears to have hit the Garden early this winter? Between the Stephon Marbury and Eddy Curry sagas, don't New York fans have enough to deal with. Throw Harrington into the mix and we might as well give Isiah a uniform.
Despite an obvious need for a big man (see below: Knicks come up short-- and small), a run of the mill center like Kendrick Perkins would have done the trick in a locker room that prides itself in putting up points in a hurry. New York averages a league-leading 105.3 points per game while giving up a league-worst 105. 9 points per game defensively. While making the Orange and Blue a much worse offensive team, this trade has succeeded in making them a slightly better defensive team, something that a stubborn D'antoni never preached anyway.
So why did the Knicks make this trade? Because they counted their chickens before they hatched.
One of the biggest selling points for Harrington is his contract which pays him $9.2 million this season and $10 million next season, meaning the Knicks can shed themselves of the big man by the summer of 2010, when free agent to-be Lebron James will become New York City's most attractive prostitute.
Didn't Donnie Walsh ever learn that a Jamal Crawford in the hand might be worth a Lebron James in the bush? While many New York fans might not agree with me on this one, I say that it's so, especially since there is no guarantee that Lebron will come to the Knicks in the first place (isn't he best bud's with New Jersey Nets owner, Boss Hove aka Iceberg Slim aka Jay-Z? The fact that the Nets won't be moving to Brooklyn should hurt their bid for the American idol, but it certainly doesn't kill it).
What if Lebron doesn't come to the Knicks in 2011? Haven't Knicks fans suffered through enough titanic seasons? Are we seriously expected to suffer through two (two being best case scenario) more? I don't think there's a Knick fan in the world who won't take a trade like this for a guaranteed shot at Lebron James. But in life, there are no guarantees-- just Jamal Crawford for Al Harrington swaps.
Don't count your chickens before they hatch Donnie Walsh. I wish you never had a dog!!
What do you think New York fans?

1 comment:

Pepper Johnson said...

there are more free agents than just lebron in 2010: wade, bosh, dirk, manu, nash, redd, shaq, to name a few... i think walsh wants to go so far below the cap that the knicks can get TWO... you know wade and lebron will at least discuss the idea of coming to ny together at some point in the next 2 years

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