Really, I expected more from a guy who’s been around the block a few times. All said, the poor judgement is astonishing. But enough about Henry Abbott’s decision to hold a True Hoop gathering at Times Square’s ESPN Zone. How about Laker owner Jerry Buss, ignoring what ESPN tonight described as a summer pledge to keep all Kobe trade talk on the down low, going public in today’s LA Times?
MSNBC’s Sam Smith sees a window of opportunity opening for your favorite NBA executive and mine, declaring “What this season ” Isiah Thomas’ last, many in New York are predicting ” should be about for the Knicks is Kobe Bryant.”
This Lakers team could miss the playoffs, and even if they make the playoffs, can they get past a loaded top four in the West? It seems unlikely.
Then Bryant will be one year away from leaving as a free agent.
The Knicks will hardly be far enough under the salary cap to make Bryant an offer, but while Bryant has talked about playing in Chicago, New York seems an ideal stage to complete his career. Bryant would be the kind of star New York demands, and he loves that kind of spotlight and attention.
So the Knicks season should be about trying to obtain the pieces that could go a long way toward making the Lakers whole after dealing Bryant.
A team never gets quite the value when trading a star of that magnitude, but you figure the Knicks could offer a good No. 1 pick as they may not make the playoffs. They probably keep Curry, which is not an issue as the Lakers have a future center in Andrew Bynum. The Knicks can offer Lee and Crawford, but they also need to go about finding a point guard since a deteriorating and often unstable Marbury wouldn’t be of much interest. They have the money to throw into a deal and there also are opportunities to buy draft picks from other teams. They could take on a bad contract.
Sure, you need some pieces to keep so Bryant will have a chance. But it is easier in the East. Look at LeBron James in the Finals with THAT team. You can be sure that’s part of what set off Bryant last spring.
But Bryant is so good, the best individual talent in the NBA, that he could make up for a lot of voids on the roster, especially competing in the East.
There’s talk in New York about Curry, who now has shoulder problems, and Randolph playing together, both 20-point type scorers, of a high octane, offensive game. Though where it’s going is questionable. This season should be all about trying to assemble the pieces to deal for and accommodate Bryant. And then Thomas can bring in Jackson, who played most of his career in New York and whose coaching mentor is Red Holzman, to have a two or three-year run with Bryant. It would be the biggest show on Broadway, which is really what New York is about.
Never mind Jackson’s ongoing health concerns, the always constructive Smith fails to explain how Dr. Buss is supposed to sell his season ticket holders on Jamal Crawford, David Lee and draft picks as equal value for the game’s best player. Draft picks that’ll presumably be worth far less since Smith has the Knicks winning the Eastern Conference in the near future.
Wizards C Etan Thomas underwent open heart surgery Thursday at the Mayo Clinic to repair a leak of the aortic valve. Here’s wishing him a speedy recovery, not so much for what he brings to the court but rather for what we’d miss if his Slam columns stopped appearing.