And whatever you do…Do not panic: Score one for Brooklyn in the New York Basketball wars

Oh, the poor fucking Knicks. They forgot the cardinal rule.

Do not Panic.

Later for them, though. First things first.

The Nets pulled off a coup last friday, amidst cries and proclamations otherwise. Forgive me for being confused, but isn’t the point of Professional sports to win games? Well, the blockbuster Brooklyn pulled off last weekend means they will be replacing the production (an I use the term “production” ironically in this case) of a washed the fuck up Gerald Wallace and a barely interested Kris Humphries (who was such a waste of 11 million dollars last year he lost his starting job to Reggie Evans) with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, and adding the bench scoring of Jason Terry to boot. All told they gave up nothing of value and only added 5 million or so to the payroll.

Yeah, this team would be alot scarier in a 3-on-3 half-court tournament or in a video game (with the injuries turned off) than they are in real life, but nobody who isn’t trolling you could dare assert that they didn’t improve their roster and really, what else matters?

Oh, right. The money.

Here’s the thing about that. The new NBA Luxury tax is a frightening prospect to every team in the league, since most of the penalties are now 3 or 4 for times stiffer than they were prior. In other words, If Brooklyn ends up with a $100 million dollar payroll (which is 30 million over the luxury tax threshold) they will pay somewhere in the neighborhood of 85 million in penalties alone, compared to the 30 million they would have been charged this year. Yeah, that’s a fuckload of money but if there is one thing Nets owner Mikhail Prokorhov has, it’s a fuckload of money. That’s what this boils down to for me. While he’s willing to play by his own rules and spend what it takes to win, the fans, the media and the other 29 teams are busy making fun of him and you know what? The joke is on them.

I mean, if he isn’t worried about spending all that money, why should you, me or anyone else be? For him, this is about winning and about turning around a long-suffering franchise. It’s about making noise. Sure, alot of their guys are overpaid, but the only way for him to keep adding players was to take on these contracts, and when you are over the salary cap and thus unable to add free agents, this is the only course of action you have if you are serious abut improving your lot.

nba-draft-nets-celtics-basketball-1

Brooklyn bound.

Shit, if this trade results in any improvement to the Nets bottom line it has to be judged a success, and considering he just picked up two former world champions and future Hall-of-famers, I’d say it’ a safe bet that it will. Hey, Prokhorov is playing by his own rules here. Normal logic need not apply. That’s what having a financial advantage is all about. It’s why the Yankees can survive despite spending 95 million dollars this year on players who have yet to play a single game for them in 2013. The rules are different for them than they are for the Twins or whoever. The Nets can spend there way out of mistakes and so long as they are willing to, they will win games, period.

The Knicks, though.

Call it ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ or just flat out panic, but the Knicks just got shit all over themselves in their desperation to avoid being relegated to New York B Team status, which is a likely a fate worse than death For Knick boss James Dolan. For me, there was tons of amusement to be found in this deal, on many different levels. For one, this trade was pulled off by new Raptors GM Masai Ujiri, the same man who robbed the Knicks in the Carmelo Anthony deal a few years back. Just weeks into his new Job, Ujiri must have sat, palms to face, thinking “how the fuck am I gonna fix this mess”.

And then he called the Knicks. Wouldn’t you?

Fuck, getting someone to take on the 22 million dollar contract of the oft-injured, never rebounding Andrea Bargnani is a pretty neat trick, and getting that team to kick in a first round pick to boot? Well, that’s a small miracle. Of course, this is the Knicks we’re talking about, and since they didn’t have enough sense to avoid Ujiri’s calls like the plague after the Anthony debacle, I’d say they got about what they deserve.

Even if you wanna play optimist on this and say that Bargnani will suddenly figure out how to refrain from being injured (he missed 50 games last year and 35 in 2012) and recover from the disaster that was his 2013 season, you are still paying 12 million dollards for a 7 footer who couldn’t guard a bus stop, doesn’t rebound and really doesn’t do anything but stand outside and shoot. Alot. keep in mind, this is the team that employs Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire and, if they are lucky enough to re-sign him, JR Smith.

Yeah, they needed another shooter.

Like I said, ¬†straight up panic move. Yeah, they were handicapped by the salary cap and had no other option to improve their team except trading for some other team’s refuse, but this move was not the move. Stoudemire is already making 20 million dollars to essentially do what Bargnani does (minus the 3 point shooting, that is) and since neither of them are the most durable of performers, you are basically paying THIRTY THREE MILLION DOLLARS for a 2014 power forward platoon consisting of two guys who like to score points a whole lot more than they like doing just about anything else on a basketball court. The real problem here is that while the Knicks appear to be willing to spend into the luxury tax penalties, they have no desire to go the the crazy lengths Brooklyn does so they are operating at a functional disadvantage here. The 4 million or so in annual payroll that they added in this trade is more like 15 million when you factor in the tax, which means they paid even more for Bargnani than initially thought. All that money spent for a player who is, to put it mildly, a major risk at this point. All while the Nets get stronger.

LOLKnicks, as usual.

-JH

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