So much for 72 hours, I guess.
And now, after the dust has settled, it feels like the morning after a wild party, and all the Knick fans are left with is a trashed house and a vicious hangover.
Of course, most of them are still in denial, spouting the usual “we had to do it NOW or he wasn’t coming!” and “Chauncey Billups is better than Felton, so what if he’s 35!” rationalizations you would expect from a fan base in turmoil.
Never mind that the owner (on some horrible advice from the most incompetent GM in modern Basketball history) panicked and overpaid for a guy they may or may not have come for free in the summer, all on the premise that he might opt to stay with the team he had vowed all year to leave or actually sign on to play the next three years in a place as godforsaken New Jersey.
I mean, think about that for a minute.
In the interim, the team and the city will go a little silly patting themselves on the back for landing such a big fish, nevermind the cost, and those same folks will work themselves into a lather dreaming about adding a third star, either Chris Paul or Deron Williams, next year. Nevermind that the move is financially improbable and will leave them cash strapped and incapable of adding any other players of signficance.
The absolute best case scenario would involve the Knicks ending up with a poor man’s version of Miami’s big 3, and while they might sell tickets you’d be hard pressed to find an objective party who thinks this team would be of championship caliber.
Even worse, the depth of talent they had 24 hours ago could still have been augmented by another star player this summer or the next, making them legitimately scary.
Now, we’ll never know.
Of course, not to be overlooked is the coup Denver’s brand new front office pulled off. Give yourself a minute to soak in the idea that new owner Josh Kroenke, the 29 year old son of the former owner, and rookie GM Masai Ujiri entered this situation faced with the prospect of losing their franchise player for nothing, yet emerged with a boatload of players and draft picks including the much sought-after Danilo Gallinari, talented young scorer Wilson Chandler and Raymond Felton, who was in the midst of his finest season and would have made the All-star team if not for a February slump.
Pretty impressive to be sure, but merely par for the course when you’re dealing with the Keystone Cop duo of Dolan and Isiah.
Nevertheless, the Knicks got their man, and financially at least, this deal will be judged as a success by the people who count the ticket and merchandise money, if no one else.
In the meantime, be prepared to watch a team with two amazing scorers and precious little else, and try to remember back to a time when they actually had a promising little nucleus and enough salary cap space to add another genuine star player.
Seems like it was only days ago.
john hathwell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org