Simmons Saves Knicks! Plus Trade and Celtic Notes

This magical genie and his underwear would be a big draw in New York.

In his most recent mailbag, Bill Simmons suggested a trade that actually makes some sense for the Knicks and the Heat (although trading Shaq might be a tough sell to Miamianos). Below is the trade along with a rebuilding plan for the team from the horse’s mouth:

Don’t acquire any big contracts that extend past the 2010 season. Why? Because we need to create enough cap space to woo LeBron when he becomes a free agent in the summer of 2010. Look, the Knicks aren’t winning a title for the rest of the decade. It’s not happening. So why not be upfront about it? If you took the Knicks GM job and told the fans over and over again, “Just be patient, I want to be a big-time free agent player in the summer of 2010 and I’m not doing anything to screw that up,” the Knicks fans are smart enough to understand the logic behind this.

To that same end, I’d pursue Shaq (expires in 2010) because Miami is hemorrhaging money and needs to dump salary. For instance, this trade works after December 15th: Eddy Curry (less than half the pricetag of Shaq for the same stats), Stephon Marbury (expires in 2009) and Fred Jones’s expiring deal for Jason Williams’s expiring deal and $82 million worth of Shaq and Mark Blount (both of whom expire in 2010).

If you’re running Miami, you say yes because you’re dumping $20 million in salary after the 2009 season AND saving $11 million this season ($5.5 million in salary plus an equal amount of luxury tax money) without affecting this year’s team. As for the Knicks, they don’t care about losing more money — as we witnessed the past four years — and the double-barrelled good will of acquiring Shaq and dumping the sullen Marbury/Curry combo would diffuse the fan base’s bitterness by about 35 percent. Maybe Shaq isn’t Shaq anymore, but he’s not completely washed up yet, and it would still feel like a bigger “event” when he’s out there … and sticking Shaq in the Big Apple would be fun, right? More importantly, dumping Curry’s contract creates enough cap room after 2010 to make the aforementioned run at LeBron. Who’s the only guy that matters here.

To recap, here’s my plan for saving the Knicks: Grease the media; trade for Shaq; be upfront with the fans; stay away from any long-term deals past 2010; stick every egg in the LeBron Basket. Vote for Simmons to save the Knicks!”

Why did I just put a 400 word quote in there from another writer? Because I actually think it’s a great idea. Here’s the trade machine breakdown with Udonis Haslem in place of Mark Blount because the trade machine won’t allow it since Blount cannot be traded right now due to a trade exception, but the trade might make just as much sense with Haslem in Blount’s place anyways. It would be pretty cool to see a motivated Shaq in New York.

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The Bobcats and Pistons made a trade today. Nazr Mohammed heads to Charlotte for Walter Herrmann and Primoz Brezec. Check out the trade machine here. I’ve got to say this is a horrible move for the Bobcats. Mohammed is 30 years old and already mediocre. He also has four years left on his contract at over $5 million a year. Four years! He’s already not worth that much and will only get worse. Brezec is having a horrific season but his contract comes off the books after this season so no harm there and Herrmann, whose deal also expires after this year, is basically already just as good as Mohammed. Score this one a big win for the Pistons.

***

The Celtics kept up their dominance with a big win against the Bucks. Ray Allen missed the game with his balky ankle, which he recently rolled and has been playing on over the past couple weeks. In his place started Tony Allen and he was fantastic on defense and solid offensively. This is great news for the Celtics, as the team continues to show that it has some depth and is only going to get better as the season progresses (yes, I realize they can’t get any better record-wise but I mean in terms of beating the Spurs in the Finals).

***

I remember when some people said the Magic were crazy for passing up Emeka Okafor to take some unproven high schooler, despite Okafor’s questionable back and Dwight Howard’s Hall-of-Fame potential. I think the doubters are the ones who look crazy now. Just imagine if Howard can learn to make a free throw someday. Scary.

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