The basketball world descended on Madison Square Garden for the All-Star Game on Sunday. It was a fun weekend with a lot of glitz and a lot of glamour.
And now reality can resume: The New York Knicks (10-43) are the worst team in the NBA.
When do the Knicks get fixed? That’s anybody’s guess.
“Players know what New York City is,” Sports Illustrated NBA and boxing insider Chris Mannix said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “They still love coming to the Garden and competing as visitors. They just don’t want to play there right now because the Knicks have not shown anything in the last 15 years that they might have an ability to win. They’re basically on their third rebuild this century. First with Isiah (Thomas), then with Donnie Walsh, now we’re on to Phil Jackson. They’re the worst team in basketball right now, they’re playing a bunch of D-leaguers and all they can really offer at the moment is cap space.
“So instead of the focus being on, ‘What can we get in free agency?’ and ‘How can we lure somebody here?’, they need to start acting like a small-market team and be totally locked in on this draft pick – because guys, you can screw up a top-five pick. For every Carmelo Anthony, there’s a Darko Milicic. For every LaMarcus Aldridge, there’s a Tyrus Thomas. So this has to be on Phil Jackson and his staff to make sure they hit a home run with this pick – because that’s how this is going to get fixed in New York.”
The Knicks took a step toward fixing their century-long problem Sunday, reaching a buyout with Amar’e Stoudemire, who was in the final season of a five-year, $99.7 million contract. Stoudemire, upon clearing waivers, intends to sign with a playoff team and should draw strong interest from the Mavericks.
“Dallas is going to make a hard run, that’s for sure,” Mannix said. “But you could put Player X into a box and say Dallas is going to go after him if they’re a free agent. They don’t have any money, they don’t have anybody to trade and they know they desperately need to make an upgrade on that bench to make a run in the Western Conference.
“But I think you keep a strong eye on the Clippers, too,” Mannix continued. “They’ve been aggressive in pursuing free agents. They made it very clear that before this buy-out deadline of March 1, they’re going to try to bring somebody in. And at least what they can offer Amar’e – in the short term – is a starting spot. We can say to you, ‘Blake Griffin is out for the rest of the month, you can start alongside DeAndre Jordan, and when he comes back, you can fit right in on the bench.’ I think that would be appealing to him just because he wants to show he can play for a contending team, that he can play for a winner – because this is a big contract year for him.”
Stoudemire, 32, is averaging 12.0 points and 6.8 rebounds per game this season.
“He’s got to prove he’s healthy to get one more deal to stay in this league,” Mannix said. “It’s crazy to think because, my God, Amar’e Stoudemire doesn’t defend anyone anymore, but he is going to be an absolutely sought-after player from every team in the Western Conference.”
Finally, Mannix also discussed the potential fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. The two sides are reportedly close to an agreement, but there are still no signatures on the bottom line.
Will this fight actually happen?
“I hope so, but I’ve played Charlie Brown to their Lucy too many times where they keep pulling the football away and I keep falling for it,” Mannix said. “Something’s going to happen this week, let’s put it that way. The two sides have pretty much agreed to almost everything. I know Pacquiao’s side has told me repeatedly they’ve agreed to everything. Mayweather’s side told me they’re close on everything. If this thing falls apart, it’ll never happen. But we will have a resolutions at some point this week. Otherwise Pacquiao’s side has told me they’re prepared to move on.”