Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Knicks Winning The Style Battle - Still In Pursuit Of Substance

In reportedly signing Phoenix's Amar'e Stoudemire to a 5-year $100 million deal, the Knicks have – in classic fashion – obviously overpaid for a good-but-not-great big man that plays no defense, is an underachieving rebounder and has a track record of serious injuries. After a decade of misery & 2 years of blatant salary dumping with an eye toward this very moment, the Knicks have arrived at this most-anticipated of parties only to discover that their chances of landing LBJ, Wade or Bosh have started to fizzle. So... they scramble and sign Amar'e for $100M, even though their very own David Lee represents better value for money – whatever the money turns out to be. How very New York Knick of them!

HOWEVAH… while this would a dumb and potentially crippling move for all but five or six NBA franchises, it’s actually in the Knicks best interest. Where most franchises focus on wacky things like fiscal responsibility and unearthing bargains in free agency, the Knicks deal in a different currency – glitz and glamour. Does the addition of Amar’e Stoudemire ensure greater productivity from the PF position and an improvement in the standings? Maybe. Probably a little bit. But where it does pay huge dividends is in name value and a perceived commitment to improvement - biggies in Manhattan these days - despite the years of overpromising and underdelivering. That the move from David Lee to Amar’e probably won’t have too much of an on-court impact is secondary – by spending big money on the bigger name, the Knicks have (they're hoping) assured their fans early on that the much-ballyhooed Summer of 2010, while maybe not playing out as they’d hoped, will not be a total whiff.

Only the Knicks solve this type of a PR problem with $100 million Plan B while ignoring a solution on their own roster that’s 40-60% cheaper. Sadly for the Knicks, given the city in which they play and their relationship with their fans this was the smart play!

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