A starting five of notes on the Knicks trading for former superstar Tracy McGrady:
1. The TMac Narrative: everyone in the analysis business wants to write off TMac as a strictly cap-money acquisition. The brains say he's too old to really help. And even if he is good he'll be too expensive to keep on the roster. It's a lose-lose in terms of him sticking around for Knicks fans. But I'm thinking sports, if nothing else, is all about defying our rational intellectual senses. This is why despite exponents of stat-head freaks overpopulating the globe compiling every statistic known to man we still in any given game NEVER KNOW WTF IS GONNA HAPPEN. This was a man crying(breaks down circa 1:50 mark), emptying his heart in front of a crowded press room only a few years ago. Sports can get schmaltzy, but still not many superstar athletes expose themselves quite like that. Allan Houston was our All Star, he never cried. Nate Robinson has heart, but he ain't been broken up over much. And it's not like these guys haven't had plenty to sob about for the last decade. I don't know how Eddy Curry gets through the days. But I think TMac has a particular qualitative element to his story that fits in with the majestic arcs demanded by the city of skyscraping dreams (too much?). Its not likely, it's not something to bet your rent on. But if we snooze, he's the kind of player who can sneak up on you and become a factor. I guess I think it's good that he's being written off by the media.
2. How to build in the NBA: this trade wasn't a no-brainer. which many trades are, in either direction. No-brainer brilliant, no-brainer retarded. But this is a conscious choice with a significant amount of risk involved. It's true, that smells a little like Isiah's m.o. But this upcoming free agent market is unprecedented. It's different than going all in on a hospitalized Eddy Curry. I think more than the NFL, MLB, the NBA is a player's league. You need The Guys. Every year these are the teams that can win: Team Kobe, Team Lebron, Team Garnett & friends, Team Dirk, Team Wade, Team Nash, etc. The Rockets have a good roster, but no matter all the awesome moves by their GM, they're not gonna win unless Yao returns as a superstar. Its no slam dunk to land two players the caliber of which to make us much legit contenders. But i think it's the only way to make it happen. We have to go from bad to great. Not bad to ok.
3. Eddy Curry exists: I feel sorry for Eddy Curry. Even vegan ballet-dancing nonsports fans make fun of Eddy Curry. True story! Imagine you're a real person reading this stuff about you. Printed in real newspapers and magazines on the regular. Is Eddy Curry a real person? I don't think he and god can mutually exist for the abuse he takes. True, he's making $11M/year to sit around.... Would you take daily abuse for years in exchange for millions? I mean, if you're not 7-feet 300 pounds and able to blend in, then sure. Take the money and avoid crowds. But he can't help but stick out and attract the abuse. I don't think I'd take $11M to be Eddy Curry. True story! Maybe. Still, it's a cruel world.
4. Does NYC have its own sports life cycle? how long can a NYC team stay irrelevant? Championships are never guaranteed, but you don't go decade+ in NYC without being relevant. If there's anything to NYC being NYC, then we should probably be owed something soon. This move portends along those lines, the idea that you have to make your own luck sometimes. Put yourself in position. Milwaukee, for example, doesn't get to do that with any sort of confidence.
5. What if we had a draft pick we liked? I was sort of down on Walsh because we wanted a PG, we needed a PG, turns out this draft was loaded with them ... and we took Jordan Hill, who looks like a generic non-factor NBA big man at the moment. Of course, now it works perfectly to have a blown first round pick we can throw in a deal. But if we didn't f up the draft pick, and had, say, Brandon Jennings, then we'd be stuck. No way we could throw him in for a chance at a superstar. Rather, we'd be trying to build around Jennings, Chandler, Lee, Danilo. Which is like Houston Rockets ball without the Yao Ming. Which would play in the media better, but probably wouldn't work, ... so maybe there are NYC destiny gods in the mix after all ...