OJ Simpson was granted parole yesterday; this was front page news in the Washington Post today. I am confident that there is no other person incarcerated by the State of Nevada whose parole would make it to the front page of the Washington Post. In fact, the only other people currently in jail that might achieve that status that come to my mind are:
- Ted Kaczynski (the Unabomber)
- “The Underwear Bomber” (cannot recall the name)
- Bernie Madoff
- Charles Manson
- Terry Nichols
Reverting to the sports world… When I was in high school, one of my classmates of the female persuasion was an athlete and a big sports fan. We would catch up at periodic reunions and she has been a reader of these rants almost since the day they hit the Internet. Having lived for a time in NYC, she is a Knicks’ fan. I will pause here so that you may offer your condolences now.
Right after the Knicks fired Phil Jackson, she sent me an e-mail saying that she would love to get the job as Knicks’ president so that she could put the team on the right path. I responded by asking her if I could be one of the team’s collegiate scouts if she got the job. Making me a college basketball scout would allow me to realize what Mark Twain identified as the path to a truly happy life. He said it involved 2 simple steps:
- First, find what it is that you truly love to do.
- Second, find some damn fool who will pay you to do it.
Alas, my classmate did not get the job and my hopes to lead a truly happy life will have to continue to be what I derive from these rants. This all goes to show that Groucho Marx was correct when he noted:
“Man does not control his own fate. The women in his life do that for him.”
Scott Perry got the job as the Knicks GM having most recently served as the VP for Basketball Operations for the Sacramento Kings. If Scott Perry is the intersection of the Kings’ organization and the Knicks’ organization, perhaps we should refer to him as “Dysfunction Junction”. The Knicks must be very enamored with Perry’s abilities because they gave the Kings a second-round pick and “cash considerations” to hire Scott Perry. Until the announcement of this hiring, I was not aware that it was Perry who “masterminded” the Kings’ draft and their free agent signings this year; now that I know that I have to say that he deserves kudos.
- In the draft, the Kings got De’Aaron Fox, Justin Jackson, Harry Giles and Frank Mason. Giles is the biggest question mark here because he comes off an injury last year but the other 3 picks look rock solid.
- In free agency, the Kings signed George Hill and Zach Randolph – two solid NBA players who should provide leadership and stability for the rest of the young roster.
I am not ready to pretend that the Kings are a threat to the Warriors in the NBA West just yet, but the franchise has needed rebooting for a while now and this off-season seems to be a reasonable start along that path. Like the Kings, the Knicks have been in need of a roster reboot for a while now. Starting with the 2001-02 NBA season, the Knicks have been over .500 exactly twice and one of those times finished the season with a 42-40 record. In terms of on-the-court issues, Scott Perry and coach Jeff Hornacek have to deal with:
- What to do with Carmelo Anthony once and for all. Now, he says he would waive his no-trade clause for specific teams; can the Knicks make a reasonable deal for him? Whatever their decision, they need to make it and take that soap opera off the air.
- How to repair relations with Kristaps Porzingis. He is a talented player and he was clearly not happy with the “prior management”.
- Do they have an NBA level point guard on the roster? They did not have one last year; they drafted Frank Ntilikina who played in Europe for Strasbourg in the French League last year. Scouts say he was the best pick of the foreign players in the draft; the calendar says he will turn 19 years old next week.
If you are a Knicks’ fan like my classmate, you can look at the glass as half full and under a running faucet. No one would blame you if you looked at the glass here as half empty and under a faucet dispensing water from the Flint Michigan water system. There is a discordant note in the background here. Prior to hiring Scott Perry, the Knicks were in negotiations with David Griffin for the GM job. Like Perry, Griffin had experience in a dysfunctional organization whilst he was GM for the Cavaliers. However, Griffin did manage to deal with the egos on the court and the mercurial owner sufficiently to deliver a championship and appearances in the NBA Finals.
Griffin removed himself from consideration for the job and it was reported that a sticking point was that he would not have hiring/firing authority. I can’t point to specifics, but given the way the Knicks have been run for the last 15 years, there are likely some folks in the organization that would be better off in the unemployment line. Unless, of course, all the dysfunction belongs to owner, James Dolan, in which case any GM from Planet Earth is doomed from the start. The final chapter has not been written yet…
Finally, here is an observation from Scott Ostler of the SF Chronicle regarding an off-season move in the NBA:
“With Chris Paul and James Harden sharing a backcourt, every Rockets game will be a flopping clinic. There will be times when one of them takes a shot and both of them fall down.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………