January 05, 2004

Is JerseyGirl running the Knicks?: DetroitBoy fleeces Suns, and I'll never say another bad word about him. Wow.

posted by djacobs to basketball at 11:46 AM - 25 comments

Wow. This'll be great for Marbury since A): He gets to go home and B): He'll be able to get back in the media spotlight and out of the oh so appropriate desert setting. The Suns were a formidable team last year, giving the Spurs a hell of a tough matchup in the first round. A couple of injuries and some unidentifiable goo-goo and they're back to bottomdwelling and rebuilding. This sucks for Marion and Amare though as they're going to be further relegated. Penny's actually kind of rebuilt his career and become a pretty good role player. The thing I like about what Isiah has done in NY is that he realizes that it's far from being too late to build a decent team to make a run in the East this year. I'll be damned if anyone can prove they saw this coming though.

posted by Ufez Jones at 12:01 PM on January 05, 2004

hey! what's that supposed to mean? ha!

posted by jerseygirl at 12:06 PM on January 05, 2004

Hold on, does Jerseygirl owe someone two first-round draft picks and cash?

posted by jasonspaceman at 12:22 PM on January 05, 2004

Holy shit. The Knicks did something right. Get the kids inside. The 'pocalypse is comin'! You realize that Starbury is now obliged to break his leg, right?

posted by forksclovetofu at 12:27 PM on January 05, 2004

You realize that Starbury is now obliged to break his leg, right? Marbury breaks other people's legs (i.e. Jason Williams, David Robinson) not his own.

posted by Mike McD at 12:34 PM on January 05, 2004

I agree about Hardaway. He's going to make an immediate impact. I was silently hoping for a Marbury & Hardaway for Rasheed trade. The Knicks still have the Houston Problem, though, and that will keep them from winning the East for years. Also, jerseygirl, I lost your email address, could you please email me? Thanks.

posted by djacobs at 12:51 PM on January 05, 2004

I'll never say another bad word about him. Wow. I wouldn't go that far. But I have to admit, I give Zeke credit on this one. It's a broad stroke of genius. He cleared out the guys on the tail end of their careers ( McDyess, Ward, Eisley), and the new guys who would take 2-3 years to develop (Lampe, Vujanic) and got a proven commodity in Marbury and Hardaway. I said it in my column, the Knicks don't need all the 6-7 to 6-10 guys they've been bringing in lately, they're amongst the league leaders in rebounding. They needed to cut down on their turnovers. Picking up two experienced ball-handlers should go a long way to getting the Knicks into the playoffs.

posted by lilnemo at 01:05 PM on January 05, 2004

Can anyone figure out what the heck Phoenix was thinking? I wouldn't trade Penny for McDyess, let alone Marbury. Eisley and Ward are very average players. The only upgrade they got is at power forward, but they took a huge downgrade at guard. You're right, djacobs: they got fleeced.

posted by dusted at 01:28 PM on January 05, 2004

First, Zeke played for Detroit but he is a Chicago boy. Second, this will probably get the Knicks inthe playoffs and maybe to the second round. Bully. But the Suns understand that the prize is a championship and they were not going to get there with the personnel and contracts that they had, so they bit the bullet. The Knicks will be better but still not near the best. Phoenix as least has a shot (read: Cap Room and Draft Picks) at building a a championship.

posted by dzot at 02:10 PM on January 05, 2004

Can anyone figure out what the heck Phoenix was thinking? Getting out from under Penny's salary, I imagine. Not that McDyess helps in that area.

posted by yerfatma at 03:29 PM on January 05, 2004

Hardaway/Houston/Marbury/Van Horn/Thomas is a really good starting 5. Talentwise, one of the top 3 in the East. Lots of teams get draft picks. Draft picks have very little to do with winning a championship. Isiah Thomas just moneyballed the Suns, and also the city is interested in the Knicks again, instantly.

posted by djacobs at 03:31 PM on January 05, 2004

Draft picks can have an impact on building a championship caliber team, but from what I've seen, I don't think there's a player this year that can do that, and it's often a much longer process than taking some already groomed young guys with some wiley veterans and going from there. The Knicks do have a formidable starting five there, but they probably don't have the depth to have much playoff success, and one injury could be devastating. They're obviously a much better team for doing this though. And the city should be excited. Hell, I'm actually interested in them for the first time in years.

posted by Ufez Jones at 03:35 PM on January 05, 2004

Looking at this again, I think it might be a better long-term deal for Phoenix. That's a lot of picks. Anyone know if Maciej Lampe is any good? And can Milos Vujanic be their point guard of the future?

posted by yerfatma at 03:41 PM on January 05, 2004

That's a lot of picks. Stephon Marbury, Stephon Marbury, Stephon Marbury. Stephon Marbury! Stephon Marbury? Looking at this again Penny Hardaway. Stephon Marbury.

posted by djacobs at 04:32 PM on January 05, 2004

Have you seen Penny Hardaway play lately? There's a reason Li'l Penny isn't on TV any more. And it's not just because those ads sucked. There is also a reason Starbury is on team #4 or 5 in his tour of all the league's franchises. The good news is, there's no one currently on the Knicks who can complain about him hogging the ball.

posted by yerfatma at 04:42 PM on January 05, 2004

Marbury, one of the league's best point guards, is averaging a team-high 20.8 points for the Suns, who are in last place in the Pacific Division. He signed a four-year extension, worth approximately $76 million, earlier this season that kicks in with the 2005-06 season and runs through 2008-09. Counting this season, he has six years on his contract and will make $14.625 million next season, then a yet-to-be-determined figure in the first year of the extension. Hardaway, a former All-Star, has been coming off the bench for the Suns. He has three years left on a deal that will pay him $13.5 million this season, $14.625 million in 2004-05 and $15.75 million in 2005-06. The contracts of McDyess and Ward expire at the end of this season, and Ward has a buyout clause that can be exercised before Jan. 10. As actor Jeffrey Jones said in Amadeus, "Well, there it is." This is all about the Suns realizing that they can suck with or without Marbury and Penny, and the Knicks realizing they needed to do something big. Phoenix will now be in position to fundamentally build its team around its young studs (plus the ones they acquired in the deal), while New York can go two rounds deep and then get knocked out without reaching the finals. Although I think Lampe will be a good player and Vujanic might be a great one, the salary cap room and the $20-$25M saved in luxury taxes by Jerry Colangelo make this a strong deal for the Suns.

posted by wfrazerjr at 06:11 PM on January 05, 2004

Damn, I hadn't realized that Penny makes that much. He may be an effective role player, but for that kind of money, you could have 3-4 effective role players or 1 or 2 potential stars. Depending on how the new Knicks gel and what the playoff matchups wind up being, the 'bockers could get to the East finals, which is much much further than they would've before this trade, but at what cost? I'm still looking forward to Stephon playing in MSG though. He'll bring some fire (and revenue) the likes of which the Knicks haven't seen since the Starks/Ewing days.

posted by Ufez Jones at 08:24 PM on January 05, 2004

This is Marbury's fourth team. He wanted out of Minnesota because he didn't want to be in KG's shadow. Then he wanted out of New Jersey because he wanted a better supporting cast. Minnesota didn't improve, per se, but they haven't been hurting without him (and this year's squad might be the best yet). New Jersey improved immediately after getting rid of Marbury and replacing him with Kidd. Phoenix has become the worst team in the West. And now he goes to New York to try to turn a sub-.500 team into a playoff contender? What makes anyone think he is capable of doing this?

posted by nath at 05:54 AM on January 06, 2004

Every sub-.500 team is already a playoff contender in the East...

posted by dusted at 10:48 AM on January 06, 2004

Nath? What?!? This is a stunning deal for the Knicks. How can you say otherwise? I think Kurt Thomas now stays. Fucking Leastern conference better watch out. Suns get cash, picks, and a whole lotta cap room. Safe to say they weren't going to win this year and now can play with all them free agents. Oh and Ward will be released to sign with the Clippers or something. Apparently that was pre-arranged.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 03:11 PM on January 06, 2004

I think it's better for the Knicks, sure, because now they don't have a glut of 6'7" - 6'10" players, and actually have capable guards. However, I don't think they're going to actually play much better, and in a few years Marbury will be tired of it and be ready to go somewhere else, because there's too much pressure being at home or he doesn't like his supporting cast or something. Marbury's a fine player, but there's a reason he keeps finding himself on bad teams.

posted by nath at 03:43 PM on January 06, 2004

I don't think they're going to actually play much better I can name three reasons off the top of my head why they will play better: 1. McDyess, an inferior player to Kurt Thomas, is sent packing, restoring playing time to Thomas. 2. Howard Eisley and Charlie Ward are out, replaced by Marbury, at least a top-5 point guard. 3. Penny Hardaway is better-than-average (which is better than Shandon Anderson, who is very average).

posted by dusted at 03:55 PM on January 06, 2004

Something we haven't touched on: Does this trade officially solidify D'Antoni's tenure as Suns Head coach? D'Antoni is a basketball legend in Europe, and he's helped the NBA make great inroads in scouting European players. The Colangelo's hadn't seriously dipped into the "Euro-pool" until this past summer when they drafted Zarko. They liked what they saw. With noted international players Barbosa, Lampe, Carbakapa, and soon Vujanic, will the Suns be banking on D'Antoni to meld these players? Or will he merely be an interim coach who gets say a year or two to play with?

posted by lilnemo at 05:31 PM on January 06, 2004

Cool. Those sound like good reasons to me (but basketball is a distant third in terms of sports I profess knowledge of). I just wouldn't expect much. The playoffs aren't out this season (if only because a team could probably make it in the East by winning 35 games), but I wouldn't expect much more than a few years' worth of first-round exits. Then Marbury becomes unhappy again. I think his biggest problem is that he's way too selfish to be a real point, and prefers to toss up shots like a 2 (and maybe he should be one; that's what they did to Iverson and that worked pretty well, after all). I can't imagine him distributing the ball enough to keep Houston or anyone else happy.

posted by nath at 06:23 PM on January 06, 2004

last, belated note: I checked it out and Marbury's never played more than 2 1/2 years anywhere in his professional career. And there's always a reason he wants to move on (or at least, reasons given why he'll be better at his new location): In Minnesota, he wanted to go back home (or at least to Jersey) and wanted to run his own team. In New Jersey he wanted a better supporting cast (and get away from the pressures of performing at home). I don't know what he wanted to get out of Phoenix, but I think they're just the latest team to figure out they can lose just as easily without Marbury as with him.

posted by nath at 04:32 PM on January 09, 2004

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