Knicks Sign Allonzo Trier for 2 Years, Ron Baker Released


Welcome (officially) to the Iso Zo era. Undrafted rookie sensation Allonzo Trier has agreed to a two-year deal, the New York Knicks announced this morning.

Trier was on a two-way contract that could have made him a free agent at the end of this season. With his breakout performances, the Knicks decided not risk a potential bidding war and used their entire bi-annual exception ($7 million) to keep Trier in orange and blue for the next two years. In 2020, he will enter the market as a restricted free agent.

To make room, the Knicks had to make a roster cut. Guard Ron Baker, in the second year of a deal paying $9 million ($4.5 this year), was the odd man out. The move, combined with the $18.5 million being paid to the waived Joakim Noah, means the Knicks have to take a cap hit of $23 million this year.

But next year, the Knicks will have freed up an extra $3.5 million in cap flexibility. Currently, they’re projected to have nearly $29 million, which is within striking range of max money for a veteran free agent superstar or possibly Kevin Durant with a few more space-clearing moves.

All in all, Knicks fans should be very happy with this move. The way Trier’s progressing, this contract may very well turn out to be a steal.

3-and-D! Knicks Sign Courtney Lee to 4 Year, $48 Million Deal


The starting lineup is complete. Eight year guard Courtney Lee has signed four year, $48 million contract with the New York Knicks.

Word broke earlier this weekend about the Knicks’ offer. A confidential source told ESPN that Lee mulled the offer before speaking with the team’s othrt new signee — Joakim Noah.

[It] would not have happened without Joakim Noah. Courtney understands what playing for the New York Knicks means. He wanted to play in New York and Joakim Noah was instrumental recruiting him. Would not have happened without Joakim. Courtney couldn’t be more excited.

Lee started last season with the Memphsi Grizzlies before being traded to the Charlotte Hornets. He played in 79 games (started 65), averaging 9.5 points (45% FG, 38% 3P%), 3 rebounds and 2 assists.

This could be our sleeper free agent signing of the summer. With D-Rose’s penetration ability and the double teams that will come Melo and (to a lesser extent) Porzingis’ way, Lee will be get a lot of open looks from three-point range. Another plus is Lee’s playoff experience (including a Finals trip with Orlando in 2009) means he’s not one to shy away from the big shot.

But even more important than Lee’s offense is his ability to shut down opposing players. Too often in recent years, the Knicks have gotten killed on the perimeter due to our slow guards. Lee, as recently as this year’s playoffs, showed how underrated and important his defense can be in the fourth quarter.

And Lee is not injury prone! If our starting five stays healthy, I like our chances to make noise in 2017. Now let’s hop Phil can work some magic filling out this bench.



Dollars & Sense – Why Melo Was Right for Re-upping with Knicks for 5 Years, $120M+


Earlier today, Carmelo Anthony confirmed his decision to resign with the Knicks for a five-year deal that will reportedly be under the maximum $129 million he could have received. With that move, Melo’s worth was immediately re-evaluated. From the perspective of Chicago Bulls fans, he transformed from the missing piece to their championship aspirations to an athlete simply concerned about money over a winning legacy. Knicks fans are mostly happy to have back our most consistent player, but there is a vocal minority among us who blame Melo almost exclusively for last season’s failures. Through it all, Carmelo Anthony is back with the Knicks, and despite what you’ll read from other disgruntled fan bases, it was the right move.



The Bulls are a well-coached team that has had their potential hampered by injuries to their most dynamic player (Derrick Rose) and a horrid contract (Carlos Boozer). For the last three years, they’ve failed to attract a consistent scoring threat to take some of the pressure off of Rose. In that regard, you can’t blame them for looking at Carmelo Anthony as a savior. In Melo, they would have one of the deadliest scorers in league who could thrive in the post, from mid-range, or as a catch n’ shoot option on the three-point line.

But if you look at it from the supposed “win now” angle that the Bulls were selling, problems start to arise. The first issue is Derrick Rose himself. Melo forced himself to NY three years ago on the gamble that his co-star, Amar’e Stoudemire, would be able to share the offensive load with him. That has been the furthest thing from the truth, with Stat having to undergo back and knee surgeries. Add to that the minute restrictions and we’ve seen Melo essentially be forced to carry the team.

How does that tie back to Rose? Consider the fact that as hobbled as Stat has been over the last two seasons, he’s still played more games than Rose, who went down early last season with more knee problems following a previously missed season for ACL damage. By coming to the Bulls, Melo would have basically put himself at the mercy of Rose’s health. If Stoudemire’s recent years have taught Melo anything, it’s that knee problems rarely go away. A move to Chicago presented a strong possibility of not only replicating his last few years in NY, but also with a substantial pay cut (over $30 million dollars).



The only fan I excuse for having that “stars should take less money” mentality are teenagers who have yet to enter the workforce. I cannot fathom how any working adult can share that stance.

Let’s do a quick scenario. You walk into your job with a potential raise on the table after years of hard work, building your skills/resume etc. However, your employer tells you that it would be easier for the company’s tax bottom line if you not only didn’t take the raise, but took a pay cut. Most of us would balk at our salaries being reduced $5000 per year, let alone the millions we expect NBA players to give up. Remember — more money, more problems. Just because they have a higher pay grade doesn’t mean they don’t have higher expenses and family obligations to take care of.

I say all that to drive home the importance of this contract for Melo. At 30 years old, this is very likely the last time he’ll be able to generate money on this level. Furthermore, he’s one of the few players that deserves it based on his skills and level of play. Yes, he’s not as good as LeBron. But in a league where the likes of an Avery Bradley can command $8 million per year, are you really going to try to argue that Melo, who averaged 28 points and 8 rebounds last year, isn’t worth a max salary or close to it?



It’s no secret that Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher are looking to implement the triangle offense. Every championship version I’ve ever seen of the triangle had a dynamic scorer. Melo fits that perfectly. Yes, I understand the skepticism that he can adapt to it. However, those thinking Melo isolations were his idea need to remember the track record of his previous Knicks coaches (D’antoni, Woodson). Melo has yet to have a competent coach or system here in NYC. Not to mention, last year had several players post career-lows in scoring (Felton) and shoot awfully for the majority of the season (Shumpert, JR). Iso Melo wasn’t simply the first option — it was damn near the only option due to how inept our offensive sets were under Woodson.



Aside from the Bulls, Melo also had the Lakers and Rockets on his free agency list. LA is crippled by Kobe Bryant’s contract and have no prospects of improving their roster anytime soon. Outside of maybe getting Lala a few more movie roles, the Lakers made no sense. The Rockets would have been an interesting mix, but I believe watching Harden’s style of play flame out in the playoffs probably deterred Melo from seeing a Houston signing as really creating another “Big Three.”



Resigning Melo was just one of the steps on Phil Jackson’s agenda. As noted a few days ago, he’s begun looking at potential trades that can ship out the real albatross contracts on the books in Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani. But unlike past regimes, Phil is being patient. He wants to develop our younger players and is totally against shipping out guys like Tim Hardaway Jr. just to rid the team of Bargnani or Stat.

Let Phil do his job. The man got rid of Raymond Felton for Christ’s sake. I have full confidence we’ll see another big move or two in the coming months and very likely during the season as well.




[Video] Phil Jackson Talks Melo Signing Delay: “I’m pretty flat emotionally about all this…”


As Carmelo Anthony continues to mull his playing future, Knicks president Phil Jackson talked to the media to give his thoughts on the resigning delay, LeBron James’ role in said delay, and if Melo should be taking less than the offered 5-year, $129 million dollar contract. Through it all, Jackson remains composed. He revealed that he thought their last meeting went very well, as verified by Yahoo sources last week. However, Jackson also did confirm that his recent text messages to Anthony over the last few days have gone unreturned.

Whatever happens, one thing remains — in Phil we trust.

Knicks Offer Melo 5-Year Max ($129M), Decision Expected July 4th Weekend


The New York Knicks cemented their willingness to retain Carmelo Anthony by offering a five-year, $129 million max contract during last night’s meeting in Los Angeles.

The Knicks offer came after Anthony met with the Lakers, the final team on his free agent list. LA reportedly offered the maximum contract available within their cap — $97 million over four years.

Although the Knicks are reportedly the favorite to resign their star player, Anthony has not given a verbal commitment and advised he would use the rest of the weekend to make a decision. The lead alternatives to New York remain the Chicago Bulls and Houston Rockets.


With all the rumors that have spiraled over the last week, I deliberately refrained from writing much about “Melodrama 2014.” Like most fans, I’ll be happy when this is over. I’d definitely prefer him to stay and even the max contract isn’t that big of concern. I’m more worried about what free agent star gets paired with him next year at a max contract.

As of now, I’d say it’s 75% in New York’s favor that he stays.

Knicks Sign Shannon Brown, Earl Clark to 10-Day Contracts


The Knicks are expected to sign shooting guard Shannon Brown and forward Earl Clark to 10-day contracts on Thursday (February 27).

Brown is coming off a previous 10-day contract with the San Antonio Spurs, where he averaged 2.3 points in 10 minutes. Clark played 45 games this season for the Cleveland Cavaliers, averaging 5 points and 3 rebounds in 15 minutes.

Per ESON, the Knicks are also in talks with 33-year-old Dahntay Jones.


While nothing spectacular stood out about Brown during his limited time in San Antonio, he is a competent defender (something the Knicks currently lack in their guards). He can also get to the rim and finish pretty well.

As for Clark, I’m just hoping he can box out effectively. He’s a career 40% shooter (37% this season), so it’s not realistic to expect him to light up the scoreboard. But at 6’10, he should be able to help the second unit in spots.


Guess Who’s Back: J.R. Smith Resigns with Knicks


The Knicks and J.R. Smith have come to terms on a new contract that will pay the 2013 Sixth Man of the Year $24.7 million over the next four years.

The deal was the maximum the Knicks could offer Smith, who also considered offers from the Bucks, Pistons and Mavericks. According to Smith’s agent, Leon Rose, the deal has a player option on the fourth and final year.

With repeated injuries to Amar’e Stoudemire, Smith emerged as the second scoring option behind Carmelo Anthony and averaged 18 points and 5 rebounds. Smith’s strong played continued early in the playoffs, but dipped mightily following a one-game suspension for elbowing Celtics guard Jason Terry in game three of New York’s opening playoff series. Smith would go on to average just 33% shooting from the field in route to the 4-2 series loss to the Indiana Pacers in the second round.

Smith lead all players in the NBA with points off the bench last season. The deal is expected to become official on July 10.


As erratic as JR was during the playoffs (and the first half of the season), I’m very happy he’s returning. There is no other player on the market that could make up his output for the money. JR is not meant to be a second scoring option player, and if we can just get the rest of the team healthy (namely Stat), Smith should be able to have another productive season. I never much doubted he’d leave due to his roots in New Jersey and love for Coach Woodson, but I hope his playoff performance has left a sour taste in his mouth and pushes him to prove all the naysayers wrong this coming year.

In the meantime, let’s celebrate!