Did the Knicks Protest Already Work?

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I know what you’re thinking: “There is no way a minor protest had anything to do with the biggest Knicks news in decades.”

You probably are even questioning why a protest will still go on being that a recent win streak and the soon to be official arrival of Phil Jackson changes the narrative surrounding the Knicks season.

A week ago on the KF4L Rally page, a message was posted stating

“Make no mistake about it: even if Phil Jackson were to take the offer and come to the Knicks, the protest WILL GO ON! One move is not convincing. Now that he’s making moves, we need to put pressure on Dolan to make sure he let’s Phil do his job.”

Last night after a congratulatory “Welcome to NY, Phil” message was posted an additional post was even more interesting:

Stephen a. Smith said today that Dolan does not want this protest to happen at MSG on March 19. Which is the idea behind holding the Phil Jackson press conference a day before. I guess we did get his attention.

This may seem evident that James Dolan withheld the official announcement of Phil Jackson this past week as a deliberate attempt to galvanize the media and bury whatever story a small band of protesters can elicit. However, ESPN LA’s Ramona Shelburne reports that Phil Jackson and the Knicks have been talking for months.

End of the protest theory right? Not so fast. I think there are some subtle signs that say otherwise.

Firstly, though everyone has known Mike Woodson is in his last year as coach, Dolan has been adamant on keeping the Woodson-Mills status quo in place for the entire season, even through the ugliest of times. His reluctance to shake things up and respond to the crisis on the court not only probably cost the Knicks a productive season, but it also has probably done some damage to the magnetism New York once brought to Carmelo Anthony. When the season was first beginning Melo talked about Knick championships. As the season comes to a close he still talks about championships, but has largely dropped the Knicks from being part of that equation. Due to Dolan’s stubborness, he may have inadvertently forced his prized possession out of town. If Dolan really has been speaking with Phil for months, you can’t help but ask where this urgency is coming from since he has shown the patience of a monk all year.

Secondly, earlier this week a random email to Knicks season ticket holders announced an impromptu celebration of “the Knicks being back from their west coast tour” scheduled at the same time (March 19, 6pm) as the actual Knicks protest. Other than the bizarreness of the Knicks showing they actually care about their fans, its even more strange since by the time the Knicks play on March 19, it would have been about two weeks since they even played on the westcoast. The haphazard staging of this rings as being something coming abruptly from the top because even the most junior of event planners would have thought of better messaging and planning than this. At the very least, we know it got his attention.

Dolan’s allergy to the media comes from a constant fear of looking like an oaf and time and time again it seems as something he specializes in. He has a hyper-sensitivity to what people think of him, which is the basis of his notorious Knicks media policy, and this protest is something that seems to have really got under his skin. Knick fans know how emotional Dolan is and the news of this protests is probably something he was really embarrassed about since it will be on the night the Knicks play against the best team in the east, the team that eliminated the Knicks from their first playoff run in years, and the team the last good President the Knicks had is now currently consulting with. Personally, I think Dolan was so enraged by the news of a protest that he took a couple of angry fans completely out of proportion and vowed to respond in a very public way.

Getting this deal done with Dolan is something that was probably more of a middle finger to the fans that wanted to embarrass him than suddenly having the clarity to want to fix the Knicks. Either way, these are hopeful times to be a Knicks fan so who cares the reasoning behind the timing? Phil has finally come home and thats all that counts.

What do you think?

Follow Richard Bertin on Twitter 

A Passionate Knick Fan’s Plea

via NY Daily News

via NY Daily News

There certainly is a lot of noise coming from Knick fans this month. While a two game win streak and the possibility of Phil Jackson coming to New York in some sort of Front Office capacity has taken the attention away from a bad season, one fan is still trying to draw attention to his suffering through a petition he created that reads like a manifesto against James Dolan.

When I read the petition, which reads like a never-ending scarlet letter to Dolan, I knew right away that this guy was serious about drawing attention to how bad the Knicks were managed. It’s clear he put a lot of effort into it so I wanted to learn more about the person behind this. The fan that created this is Jake Sarachek who is a college student that has been a fan ever since the late 90s. Below are some answers to a few questions I posed to him about his Knicks petition.

What was the final straw in getting you to organize this petition?

Jake Sarachek: Had to be last Sunday, just watching us get so mercilessly beaten down by a Chicago Bulls team playing without what many would have considered to be their two best scorers at the start of the season. I can deal with my teams losing, but to be down 37-16 at the end of the first quarter to a team that is not even considered a serious contender to make let alone win the finals this year is an absolute disgrace. I just cannot take the current Knicks roster with the lack of heart, chemistry, and commitment that they have shown this season, especially considering the direction we all thought we were headed in after last season relative to where we have been for most of the last 15 years.

Has there been any interesting communication from MSG to you regarding this Petition?

JS: I have not heard anything from them yet. I am sure if this whole movement gets as big as I hope it will. For now I have not received any line of communication from them.

What is the goal of this petition?

JS: The goal of this petition is to bring awareness to the NBA and the general public that as fans of the Knicks, we will no longer tolerate the product we are being given and we demand some type of change. We have by far the highest average ticket price in the league, $80 more than that of the Thunder and $50 more than the Heat; two teams with exponentially better products than us. It is not fair to us as New Yorkers and as fans to continue to be expected to pay the dollar that we do to pack the Garden every night, buy overpriced merchandise, and give the team our undying support in exchange for what we are receiving in return. At this point it is clear that nothing will ever change for the Knicks unless someone takes the responsibility to stand up and try to be the catalyst for that change.

For the jaded Knick fans that don’t think James Dolan cares about a petition, why should they still partake in this?

JS: Yeah I completely get where you’re coming from and you have a very valid point. Dolan definitely will not let a petition or any form of protest factor into his decision to sell the team. It is a very profitable money making enterprise and he cares about his money way too much to ever give up anything that would get in the way of adding to it. However it is not Dolan we are trying to get to; it is the NBA as a whole along with the general public. As I say in the petition, the NBA completely relies on its fans to drive its profitability. New York is the biggest market in the NBA, which means it is better for the NBA as a moneymaking enterprise when the New York Knicks are a competitive team. If we the fans, the ones who drive the Knicks profitability speak up with a loud, collective voice and say that we will no longer stand for the way our organization is being run that will resonate very loudly with the league.

Do you think the petition will achieve anything?

JS: Yes I do. We are New Yorkers, we are known for being outspoken and voicing our opinion, and on top of that there are simply more of us than there are of any other city’s inhabitants. I truly believe that if even over 25% of Knicks fans who feel the same way about how James Dolan is running the team unite together to speak up do so instead of just taking the attitude of doing nothing, thinking that we will never be able to make a difference than we can truly make an impact.

Is this the worst Knicks season you ever endured?

JS: Yes most definitely. There have been other ones just as bad performance wise. But this season has the largest disparity between pre-season expectation and actual results of the Dolan era. In retrospect we should have seen it coming given all the poor offseason decisions we made but still, that does not make it any easier to swallow. Adding to all that, pretty much all of the other losing seasons of the Dolan era had rosters that did not look like they were capable of going anywhere so there was no real disappointment when they didn’t, just frustration. This roster on paper looked like it was capable of making real noise in the regular season as well as the Eastern Conference Playoffs. To make things even more disappointing has been the conduct of the players both on and off the court.

Should Melo re-sign with the Knicks?

JS: I would love Melo to re-sign but right now I just don’t see us having the cap flexibility to be able to provide him with the roster he needs to win a championship. We still have A’mare, Bargnani, and Chandler on the books for another year. Of those players the only one who can really contribute championship value for the cap number that they have is Tyson Chandler and I love Tyson but still 13 million is a lot to be paying a big man with no offensive presence at all. On top of that we also have J.R Smith and his ridiculous contract and equally ridiculous basketball IQ on the books for another 3. There are also very few possibilities in terms of who we could bring in from a free agent standpoint this summer.

Is there any way the Knicks can be saved?

JS: Yes. If we were Cleveland or Milwaukee, we would be completely doomed, but the one positive we have going for us is that in spite of everything we are still New York. There is no other market in the country as extraordinary as ours. Nobody is as passionate about their basketball as we are. New York is known for being THE premier basketball city in the THE premier basketball country. We are also the biggest media market with so many lucrative opportunities for players who thrive in our environment and as I am sure someone like Derek Jeter or Eli Manning could attest to, nobody embraces and loves a winner quite like we do in New York. For a star player on a winning team there is no better city to be living and doing it in. This is why we as fans need to take the initiative. The Knicks are reaching a huge turning point in the history of their franchise where they can either continue to their descent into the basement with the way Dolan has been running the team, or they start the climb back up to the apex of basketball superiority.

Currently his petition only has a few dozen signatures, but if you can’t make the upcoming protest and still want to voice your displeasure, you can sign the petition here.

Is New York Still a Top Free-Agent Destination?

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Here’s a question for you, but try to answer it quickly: Who were the last major Free Agent names the Knicks have wooed to the Garden since 2000?  (And by major I don’t mean the stale versions of Jason Kidd, Rasheed Wallace, and Baron Davis).

Were you able to think of anyone other than Amar’e Stoudemire in 2010 ($100M), Jerome James in 2005 ($30M), or maybe even Allan Houston in 2001 ($100M)? Don’t bother Googling it, because there’s nothing to see but some ghastly sign & trade acquisitions and a cavalcade of forgotten veteran signings.

Obviously, dreadful salary cap & personnel management have severely limited the Knicks ability to bring players here to myopic trades that have hamstrung the franchise. The point being is that despite Knicks fans’ pomposity of having a team in the world’s biggest city, it’s magnetism to free agents just might not be what we think it is.

via Sportschump.net

via Sportschump.net

With Carmelo Anthony carefully weighing his decision to return or flee, the Knicks are in jeopardy of losing one of the last few players that really cares about what it means to represent New York. It says something about the Knicks when it’s become common to have messy divorces with born and bred New Yorkers who once grew up idolizing the Knicks. Bad break-ups with New York sons like Marbury, Artest, and Larry Brown have shown that the one sure way end your Knick fandom, is to be hired by them. If Melo leaves, it would say even more about the Knicks inability to keep players from being disillusioned with New York; and one that genuinely wanted to win here.

Each day it looks more and more likely Melo will choose to save his career and sign with a functional franchise that actually has a strategic plan to win than continue going down Jim Dolan’s curated rabbit hole. If he does leave, the one saving grace for the Knicks is that a massive amount of cap space will open to participate in the next free agent bazaar during the summer of 2015.  Many Knick fans have already been using that as a constant refrain to soften the blow of Melo leaving. After all, with names like Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving, and LaMarcus Aldridge highlighting that summer’s free agent class, there is no shortage of names available to quickly make a team relevant.

It will remain to be seen if any of these players even care about New York. You have to remember that for many of these young players, they have no active memory of the Knicks being relevant. Irving (21yrs old) was only an infant during the Knicks’ Eastern Conference dominant years of the 90s, and Kevin Love (24) was a toddler when Ewing and the Knicks battled the Rockets in the Finals. For many players, their memory of the Knicks is confined to the abominable years of the Isiah lead Knicks being a league-wide embarrassment. It may sound crazy but to them, roaring fans, historic lineups, and moments of Garden euphoria is something that’s just another bullet point on a Wikipedia page and nothing more palpable than that. Granted, the same holds true for many Knick fans that also have no recollection of a successful team, but players don’t have the allegiance they have.

In today’s digital era, playing in a mass market is not as important as it used to be. League Pass and social media have turned players in the smallest basketball markets into international stars. Who needs the NY press to bolster your name when a tweet can do even more to connect with others?That kind of media power was something that wasn’t available in years past and something that can really disrupt the myth of NYC propelling players to relevancy. Players also are increasingly more concerned with their “brand” and being on a team as woeful as the Knicks can do profound damage to that. Have a bad game, or season, and it becomes something that gets put directly under a public microscope. Think about it, when’s the last time you heard about Landry Fields’ miserable field goal percentage? Conversely, Shumpert’s troubles are something that the entire NBA universe is keenly aware of.

With the stifling media scrutiny placed on players in New York, not many are going to lineup to be the next player taken apart in the media each day. No one will deny Melo’s meteoric talent, but if he leaves the Knicks, the narrative of him coming to New York to only let his hometown down is something that becomes a major part of his legacy. That doesn’t happen elsewhere, as seen by how success has changed how LeBron’s legacy is shaping up to be. And speaking of LeBron, his decision to not sign with the Knicks in 2010 was perhaps the biggest proof that New York isn’t as desirable a destination we thought it was. Today we now know he didn’t need New York to become the biggest athlete of the modern era.

income_rates_largeThe dysfunction of Dolan’s Knicks is certainly no secret for players around the league but there also could be other reasons why New York isn’t what it used to be. Forget other athletes like the Yankees’ Robinson Cano recently ditching the city, but what about wealthy people in general? New York has the dubious honor of being one of the highest taxed state in the country and New York City has already seeing an exodus of wealthy people flee. Athletes are typically taxed differently according to the state they “work” in for a game, so signing with a team in a high tax state is something that will eat into their contract. And while it sounds frivolous, who the hell wants to deal with a blistering New York winter when you can be living on a beach? If you look at the NBA’s latest free agent signings you can actually see a pattern of players signing with teams in both warmer climates and less aggressive income tax rates. 

Of course there can be no bigger sports accomplishment like winning a Knicks championship. For players looking at sure way to cement their legacy, New York is the only place that can offer that, and no other feat in the NBA comes close to that. It takes a special kind of player to acknowledge the mess the Knicks are and will always operate in, but still manage to not be dissuaded by any of that all in the name of meeting a challenge head on and conquering it.

Many have tried and many have failed miserably. Hopefully, there will be players that still hold that challenge as something more priceless than anything else there is to offer. If that’s not Melo, I honestly don’t who else is left.

Follow Richard Bertin on Twitter

Knicks-Kings Recap

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Isaiah Thomas and Raymond Felton courtesy of bucketsoverbroadway.com”

Last night in New York City, in front of a sold out Madison Garden crowd, the Knicks were defeated by the Sacramento Kings, 106-101.  It was the fifth Knicks loss in six games, and followed their Sunday afternoon loss to the Western Conference juggernaut, Oklahoma City Thunder. J.R. Smith was unavailable after fracturing his cheekbone in the aforementioned Oklahoma City loss and Iman Shumpert exited the game in the third after straining his left hip flexor.

Carmelo Anthony scored 17 points in a 1st quarter that saw the Knicks jump out to 33-22, sparked primarily by Anthony’s prolific scoring. With the Knicks’ early lead and Anthony’s hot start it would have likely appeared to many an outside observer  that  New York had the game firmly in hand as they managed to shot 70% from the field and 60 % from three to end the period.

However, in the second quarter, Jimmer Ferdette, scored 15 points, on his way to a career-high 24 points, to cut the Knick lead to 6 and bring the Kings within striking distance. Following a 3rd quarter that saw the Knicks shoot a ghastly 30 % from the field,the 4th quarter saw the Knicks repeatedly turning the ball over and clutching for dear life to a 2 point lead.

 It remained this way for much of the quarter as the Knicks tried and ultimately failed to pull away from the shorthanded kings, as Demarcus Cousins, the Kings leading scorer, was sidelined with a strained hip flexor.  With 20 seconds remaining in the game and the Knicks leading by 2 games Rudy Gary was able to drain a 2 pointer over Amare Stoudemire, tying the game at 93-93. Following a timeout, Anthony’s teammates proceeded to give him the ball and stare as he launched his latest failed attempt at a game winning basket.

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“Raymond Felton in the closing seconds courtesy of sbnation.com”

In overtime things quickly spiraled out of control for the Knicks, as an exhausted Anthony, whom played 48 minutes in the game, was held scoreless and the King’s Isaiah Thomas put Raymond”Sleepy” Felton and the Knicks to bed with his final basket in the waning seconds of OT.  Knicks fans can only hope that the team will be well rested and ready to play at the All-Star break, because if not ,with only 30 games remaining, the nightmare of no playoffs will be a reality.

Knicks-Blazers Recap

“Mike Woodson courtesy http://www.cbssports.com/”;

By: David Dressekie

Tonight at Madison Square Garden the Knicks fell to the Portland Trailblazers 94-90.  New York had one of its best defensive nights of the season, as it was able to prevent one of the league’s better offenses, one that averages 108 points a game, from reaching triple digits.

Despite this the Knicks still found themselves losers as the final buzzer sounded. There were many reasons for this; missed free throws, idiotic double teams that lead to wide open three pointers, constant switching, and the inability to box out or secure a defensive rebound.  Add all of these things together and at the end of the night you have a flawed team that is unable to take advantage of its opponents poor play.

Disagree? For proof, you need look no farther than the Blazers two all stars/main offensive catalysts, Lamarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard.  Both had rather unspectacular performances, aside from the formers final minute dagger over Tyson Chandler. The pair scored a combined 27 points, shooting just 31 percent from the field, significant departures from the duo’s season averages.

Carmelo Anthony, despite a good first quarter where he scored 14 points on just 7 shots, was unable to lead the Knicks to victory as he was held scoreless in the fourth quarter, missing his last five shots.

Perhaps the games most interesting development was Mike Woodson’s decision to leave Raymond Felton on the bench and to end the game with Pablo Prigioni. If this will carry on to future games remains to be seen.

Follow David on Twitter @D11413

Raymond “#%$&!’n” Felton

One of the greatest things about being a Knicks fan in the digital era is just how connected all of us are. You see, our misery is a communal experience, and that’s something that becomes very apparent when the subject turns to Raymond Felton.

Blogs, forums, and social media has turned the entire internet into a “barber shop” on a Sunday afternoon and unfortunately for Felton, its not just a few old guys harping about his poor play. No, its thousands of us from all corners of the globe. We are legion!

One of the more recent Knick forums is Orange & Blue Global, which was launched by noted Knick fan Crazy8 who has made a name for himself by producing the most detailed highlight videos on the web. Chances are if you are reading this now, you probably have seen a few of the videos in his exhaustive collection of both Knick highlights and lowlights.

I don’t know how he hasn’t found a job in the Knicks video department by now, but I’m not kidding when I say he’s got better game tape than the actual Knicks. I guess part of the reason the Knicks haven’t approached him for a gig is because he’s too passionate a fan to sell his soul to Dolan. Besides he probably last half a practice before he got fired for chiding someone for giving Felton a high five. You’ll see what I’m talking about in his latest video rant on Felton below. It’s worth sharing, and OBGlobal is worth visiting if you haven’t already.

Knicks-Cavs Recap

By: David Dressekie @DBDQUNYC

Last night, in Madison Square Garden the Knicks extended their winning streak to four games, with a dominant performance against a downward spiraling Cavaliers team that has lost four of its last five games.

In the 114-88 victory New York’s leading scorers were Carmelo Anthony, who managed to become one of just fifty players in NBA history to have scored 19,000 career points, and Tim Hardaway Jr. with the pair chipping in 29 points each. Anthony came out of the gate strong, scoring 18 points in the first quarter on 10 attempts, finishing the game 8-17. Hardaway continued his impressive rookie campaign by shooting 11-17 from the field and 6-12 of from three.

After starting, due to Iman Shumpert’s shoulder injury, J.R. Smith had several highlight plays, as can be seen in the animated GIFs below, and contributed 19 points, while shooting 50% from the field.

JR Dunks

With all the positives that can be taken from this game; the possible resurgence of JR Smith, good play by Knick rookies Jeremy Tyler, and Tim Hardaway Jr. , it easy it to see that the Knicks are currently riding high into their Saturday night match up with, the defending World champion, Miami Heat, but will those good feelings continue? Only time will tell.

What’s Wrong With the Knicks?

Melo, Smith, and Pablo

via sportsranks.net

Note: This article was written by David Dressekie, another lifelong Knicks fan that’s new to the site. You can follow David on Twitter @DBDQUNYC

At the time I began writing this article the New York Knicks were 15-27 and in the midst of a five game losing streak. The five straight losses and terrible record have both occurred after a series of events that would have led many to believe that the Knicks had turned a sort of corner.  In the season immediately preceding this one the Knicks had attained their best winning percentage in nearly sixteen years, going 54-28, and had also ended more than a decade long stretch of postseason futility, where the team had only been able to win one playoff game in thirteen attempts.

Although the season ended in disappointing fashion, with the Knicks falling to the Indiana Pacers in the second round of the playoffs, few supporters of the organization could have predicted that a team which had kept much of its core intact, had been proclaimed a title contender, by not only team members and coaches, but by the owner, would find itself battling for the 8th seed in a conference that had grown exponentially worse.

How did this happen? When examining the two Knicks seasons the first thing you come to realize is that although Carmelo Anthony has at times underperformed, he is arguably having a better all around individual season than he did last year. The points per game are down, as is the field goal percentage by .02 percent, but Anthony has managed to increase  his free throw percentage, rebounds, and assists, while also decreasing his turnovers.

Now make no mistake, Anthony is far from perfect, he is an average defensive player, he sometimes takes highly contested shots while ignoring open teammates, and in some instances, as shown in the two examples below, his poor decision making can lead to Knick losses. With all of that in mind he is not what is wrong with the Knicks.

Carmelo Fouls Dwight:

Carmelo doesn’t call timeout:

So what is wrong with the Knicks? Literally almost everything else, but of particular note has been the struggles of the Knick guards. Iman Shumpert for all the hype and adulation has been a major disappointment offensively despite a few stretches of amazing shooting. J.R. Smith, the reigning sixth man of the year and the man who was the team’s second leading scorer last year, has been horrific posting the worst field goal percentage of his decade long career.

Raymond Felton, it seems is in constant competition with Brandon Jennings to see who is the real worst starting Point Guard in the entire N.B.A. Jennings will post an 0-7 from the field effort and Felton will respond in the following game by shooting 18 percent from the field and defensively allowing opposing P.G.s to treat him like an oversized traffic cone.

So what is the solution to these problems? Well there really do not seem to be any readily available to solve all of these issues. For instance the Knicks could start other point guards, but they all come with their own set of issues. Pablo Prigioni cannot play excessive minutes, because of his age, Beno Udrih is every bit the defensive liability that Felton is, and Toure Murry while good defensively and  a scoring threat in his own right does not get his teammates as involved as a traditional floor general. At shooting guard there is always the threat of Tim Hardaway Jr. snatching playing time away from Shumpert and Smith, because of his great shooting and ability to finish at the rim, but his suspect defense    and occasional rookie miscues make Mike Woodson hesitate to play him for extended periods of  time.

With no cap room, no draft picks, and very little in the way of trade assets, it appears this will be the team the Knicks are stuck with for at least another season.


Written By: David Dressekie
Follow David on Twitter @DBDQUNYC

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Even ‘Clyde’ seems like he’s had enough

The NY Daily News’ Bob Raissman has an interesting anecdote about the last time Walt Frazier was highly critical of the Knicks from way back in 1992. The fact it’s taken over two decades later for him to air similar frustrations during broadcasts really is telling on how low the Knicks have sunk. I was too young to remember what made Clyde take umbrage with the Knicks against the Pistons back then, but I like the thought of an ornery version of Clyde.