Day 6 of NBA free agency has concluded, and average role players are having a banner day. I hesitate to use a Colin Cowherd-esque stereotypical dating metaphor, but it actually applies here. The New York Knicks are a single woman entering her mid-30s. The husband-worthy guys (J.J. Redick, Gordon Hayward) got hitched days ago. Desperate to grow old with someone, James Dolan, Steve Mills & Co. locked up their ex, Tim Hardaway Jr., to the tune of $71 million over 4 years.
The metaphor is inconsistent with NBA free agency in that people only live their twenties and thirties once. Settling is understandable because there is roughly a 20-year window to get married, and that’s it. The Knicks, on the other hand, relive their “twenties” every summer. Even so, New York consistently shells out exorbitant commitments to average (at best) basketball players.
Let me demonstrate how low the Knicks are on the free agency totem pole. The Miami Heat wanted Gordon Hayward, but he spurned them for the Boston Celtics, so the Heat settled for Dion Waiters and Kelly Olynyk. The Knicks were interested in Waiters, but lost him to Miami. Yes, New York has reached the point where their top priority is another team’s backup plan, and they still cannot close the deal.
Even more embarrassing is the Knicks’ response to losing Waiters. They gifted an arguably inferior player $20 million more than Waiters received from the Heat. Why were the Knicks so intent on acquiring a score-first combo guard, a position of below average importance?
Anyone who thought Phil Jackson’s departure would eliminate incompetence in the Knicks’ front office was dead wrong. The Hardaway contract does not approach Joakim Noah’s in terms of irresponsibility, but I doubt Knicks fans can take solace in that. Those two deals will certainly hamstring the Knicks’ ability to build a competitive supporting cast around Kristaps Porzingis.
Finally, who were the Knicks bidding against? I find it hard to believe that another front office offered Hardaway, say, 4 years and $68 million, and the Knicks had to give him $71 million to close the deal. Careless spending seems to be an institutional plague in the Knicks organization.
This is the type of decision that makes me angry. So many great basketball minds live in this country, but not one of them can get a job in New York City. Steve Mills, you do not deserve your job.. James Dolan, you are a disappointment to your father and an embarrassment to the National Basketball Association. I cannot stand by and watch this happen any longer. Sell the team. Goodnight.