Posts Tagged 'Carmelo Anthony'

Early Observations on the 2015-16 Knicks

Rookie Kristaps Porzingis entered the season as a mystery to Knicks fans.

Rookie Kristaps Porzingis entered the season as a mystery to Knicks fans.

The New York Knicks hope to turn a corner in the second season of the Phil Jackson/Derek Fisher era after a franchise worst 17-65 record in 2014-15. New York added eight new players in the offseason, including first-round draft picks Kristaps Porzingis and Jerian Grant, and Carmelo Anthony is back in the lineup after undergoing season-ending knee surgery in February.

The Knicks split their first two games, blowing out a shorthanded Milwaukee Bucks team 122-97 Wednesday night, before dropping their home opener 112-101 to a well-oiled Atlanta Hawks team the following evening.

This team is a work in progress, as Coach Fisher continues to figure out the most effective lineups and the best way to utilize his talent. However, there is plenty of insight to be gleaned from the Knicks’ first two performances.

THE ROOKIES

Rookies Kristaps Porzingis and Jerian Grant hope to change the course of the franchise.

Rookies Kristaps Porzingis and Jerian Grant hope to change the course of the franchise.


In any other season, the biggest story in Knicks training camp would have been Anthony’s recovery from knee surgery, but New York fans’ curiosity has centered on the 7’3” Porzingis since the Knicks passed up better-known American talent to select the then 19-year-old Latvian with the fourth pick in the draft.

The Zinger was New York’s highest draft pick since Patrick Ewing was selected first overall in 1985 and could determine the fate of the franchise for the next dozen years. He has drawn comparisons to everybody from future Hall-of-Famers Pau Gasol and Dirk Nowitzki to notorious busts Shawn Bradley and Andrea Bargnani.

After two games, it is apparent that Porzingis is highly skilled for his size. The Latvian has a nice touch around the basket and though he has connected on just one of six three-point attempts, he has looked comfortable launching from well beyond the arc and nailed 36 percent of his long balls for Sevilla in Spain last year.

Porzingis has a surprisingly tight handle and moves very well for a seven-footer, as displayed in this highlight steal, spin and flush against the Hawks.

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The Legend of KristapsPorzingisis growing rapidly: https://t.co/T4iULDoBMN https://t.co/e9xNh28ZfV

— SB Nation (@SBNation) October 30, 2015

There is a litany of skilled seven-footers who have gone bust in the NBA. (See Andrea Bargnani and Darko Milicic.) It is too early to say for certain which direction Porzingis’ career will go, though there are two promising signs that he will be more Dirk than Darko: he appears to love the game and he has a little dog in him.

When asked by scouts what most excites him about life in the NBA, Porzingis replied, “I think it’s pretty cool you can get into the gym at any time. You don’t have that option in Europe. So that’s pretty exciting.” via Herring of WSJ.com While that answer may sound canned, all reports by ex-teammates and coaches support the sentiment.

Porzingis has also demonstrated some fight through the first two games. Despite his frail frame, he has repeatedly driven into traffic and banged with bigger bodies, instead of shying away from contact.

It will take a few years for him to learn the intricacies of NBA basketball, e.g. when and how to assert himself offensively, when to pull up for a jumper rather than forcing the drive, how to avoid foul trouble, the nuances of the Triangle Offense, etc. He also desperately needs to put on weight, as he is currently not strong enough to exploit his size on the block, forcing him to drift out to the perimeter.

Porzingis’ ideal role as he continues to fill out is as a pick-and-pop player. The Wall Street Journal’s Chris Herring makes a compelling argument that Zinger should be playing more time with the second unit, which uses more pick-and-roll sets.

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The trade that sent Tim Hardaway Jr. to the Atlanta Hawks for the 19th pick in the draft may have been the shrewdest move of Jackson’s tenure as President of the Knicks. New York used the pick to nab point guard Jerian Grant.

Throughout the preseason and the Knicks’ first two games, Grant has demonstrated an excellent feel for the game. He knows how to run an offense and has compiled five and seven assists, respectively, in limited action during the first two games.

Grant’s quickness provides a new dimension to the Knicks’ attack. He has instilled pace into a second unit, which outplayed the starters over the first two games and is the only Knick who can consistently break down a defense by driving into the paint. Fisher has adapted the second unit’s offense to include more pick-and-rolls in order to accommodate Grant’s strengths.

Grant’s inexperience has been evident at times, specifically with some sloppy passes against the Hawks. He has also missed some easy layups after electrifying drives to the rim. Teams are going to go under screens against Grant until he proves that he can consistently knock down the three ball.

Fisher will likely keep Grant with second unit based on that groups success, but do not be surprised if Grant is closing games for the Knicks in the near future.

CARMELO ANTHONY

Carmelo Anthony may take a while to find his game after knee surgery.

Carmelo Anthony may take a while to find his game after knee surgery.


Carmelo Anthony has no spring in his legs, which is not surprising after knee surgery. He is shooting just 33 percent from the floor, including 1 for 12 from downtown. It may take Melo a couple of months to get his legs underneath him. In the meantime, expect the eight-time all-star to use his strength to bully his way to the basket, as he did against the Hawks. There has to be at least some concern that at age 31, with a lot of mileage on his legs, Anthony will never fully regain the explosiveness that made him such a devastating scorer.

VETERAN ADDITIONS

Coach Fisher is expecting an immediate impact from the team's free-agent signings.

Coach Fisher is expecting an immediate impact from the team’s free-agent signings.


Starting shooting guard Arron Afflalo missed most of training camp and the first two games with a strained left hamstring. The injury is not considered serious, but hamstring injuries tend to linger. The Knicks are counting on Afflalo to be a consistent second option to go with Anthony.

Robin Lopez is as advertised. He is not exceptionally long or a great leaper, but is an intelligent defender who knows how to cover angles and use his body effectively. Lopez showed off a right and left-handed hook shot while putting up 19 points against the Hawks. He and his backup, Kyle O’Quinn, bring a grittiness to the team that was sorely lacking last season.

O’Quinn may have been a steal for the Knicks at $16 million over four years. The bruising big-man has about the same vertical leap as my 96 year-old grandmother, but he has six fouls and he knows how to use them. O’Quinn was quietly effective during his four seasons with the Orlando Magic, averaging 13 points and 10.6 rebounds per 36 minutes and has made the most of a bigger role with the Knicks.

He grabbed double-digit boards in each of the first two games. He knocked down an eighteen-foot jumper against the Hawks and even delivered a couple of nifty drop passes for layups out of the triangle. Old School Knicks fans had to delight in the site of the Queens native exhorting his teammates on while trailing the Hawks by 22 late in the third quarter. That is the attitude the Knicks need as they transform a losing culture.

Derrick Williams is looking to create a niche in the league after a disappointing start to his career. The second pick in the 2011 draft led the Knicks in scoring in the preseason with 15 points per game.

Williams put up 24 points on 8 of 17 shooting in the opener and could thrive as the No. 1 option on the second unit. The hybrid forward needs to stop settling for outside jumpers, where he is below-average shooter (30 percent from downtown for his career), rather than using his athleticism to get to the rim. Coach Fisher needs Williams increase his presence on the boards and become a more active defender.

THE BACKCOURT

Jose Calderon's days as a starter may be numbered.

Jose Calderon’s days as a starter may be numbered.


New York started veterans Jose Calderon and Sasha Vujacic in the first two games, though both could find themselves on the bench before long. Vujacic, who played in Europe most of the past four year, is a spot starter while Afflalo’s hamstring recovers and could find himself out of the rotation when Afflalo returns. Vujacic has a strong understanding of the Triangle Offense and can knock down an open three, but offers little else offensively, and he and Calderon are a liability defensively.

Calderon may be done. The point guard attributed his poor 2014-15 season to a nagging Achilles injury, but he has not looed any better in the early going. Quickness was never the Spaniard’s forte, and at age 34, he cannot even keep backup points guards out of the lane. He takes care of the basketball and is still an above-average three-point shooter, but it is difficult to keep him on the floor, when he cannot penetrate or defend the pick-and-roll.

Look for Grant or second-year guard Langston Galloway to take Calderon’s late-game minutes and possibly his starting spot. Galloway can play both guard positions and is not afraid to take a big shot. He appears to be developing chemistry with Grant who has hit him for several open jumpers. The next step in his development is to incorporate more dribble-drive into his game and put greater pressure on opposing ball-handles.

New York is still unlikely to snag a playoff spot in the inferior Eastern Conference. They lack reliable second and third options and Lopez is probably the only plus defender in the starting lineup. However, the team is headed in the right direction. They added much needed depth and a number of high-character players whose attitudes alone will make the team more competitive. The development of the two rookies and Galloway should also make the Knicks fun to watch.

Phil’s First Year Has Provided No Reason For Optimism

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One year ago today, New York Knicks owner James Dolan served the team’s long-suffering fan base the latest version of his favorite dish, hope, with a side of nostalgia, when he hired Phil Jackson as team President.

Sure, Jackson did not have any front office experience, but as Dolan was quick to point out, he won two rings as a player with the Knicks and 11 more as a coach. Knicks fans were optimistic that Jackson’s gravitas could hold the meddlesome owner away from basketball decisions, while simultaneously attracting big-name free agents to the Garden.

One year into the job, that hope has faded.

Surprisingly, it is not the Knicks’ league-worst 14-53 record that has Knicks fans worried. Contrary to popular belief, New Yorkers are willing to endure a rebuilding process, and are excited about the prospect of a top-three draft pick for the first time since the team selected Patrick Ewing first overall in 1985.

The concern is Jackson, who has yet to demonstrate that he is capable of running a front office, evaluating talent or making shrewd personnel moves. In fact, all signs point to the contrary.

The Zen Master inherited a capped-out roster with Carmelo Anthony expected to opt out of his contract and just three additional assets to work with, Tyson Chandler, Iman Shumpert and Tim Hardaway Jr.

Jackson initially appeared willing to play hardball with Anthony, publicly challenging the star forward to accept less than a maximum-salary contract in order to help the Knicks build a contender. But the President of the Knicks soon caved.

New York signed Anthony to a five-year, $124 million deal, just $5 million below the maximum, and still $28 million more than any other team could offer.

New York Knicks v Toronto Raptors

Anthony is a sensational scorer, though merely average at just about every other facet of the game. He is a major piece of a puzzle, not the pillar of a franchise. You only sign a player of his caliber with 11 NBA seasons under his belt to an essentially maximum-salary contract if you believe your team is close to contending.

That points to Jackson’s first major miscalculation. His initial impression of the Knicks, which he expressed during his introductory press conference and again in the preseason, was that the team could compete for the playoffs this season. Following a competitive 2014-15 campaign, Jackson would use the cap space at his disposal in the summer of 2015 to turn the roster into a contender.

The hall-of-fame coach should have known that it was unrealistic to expect a collection of players who were not in the team’s long term plans to buy into an offensive system (The Triangle) which was a poor fit for their individual styles of play and takes years to master.

The result has been the worst season in franchise history. To make matters worse, Anthony underwent season-ending knee surgery in February.

Jackson is now caught between maximizing the elite years of a star on a “win-now” contract and a team that desperately needs to rebuild. One also has to wonder if Anthony, a shot-happy forward on the wrong side of 30, will help or hinder Jackson’s recruiting efforts over the next two summers.

As for those three assets Jackson inherited, Chandler and Shumpert were traded and Hardaway’s value has all but disappeared. All Jackson has to show for them is Cleanthony Early, Thanasis Antetokounmpo and a future second-round draft pick.

Jackson received virtually nothing in return for Chandler and Shumpert.

Jackson received virtually nothing in return for Chandler and Shumpert.

Jackson packaged Chandler in a trade with the Dallas Mavericks designed to dump Raymond Felton. The Knicks received two second-round picks (which they used on Early and Antetokounmpo), Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Shane Larkin and Wayne Ellington. Compare that to the two first-round picks the Denver Nuggets received for center Timofey Mozgov, who is inferior to Chandler on both ends of the floor, in January.

Chandler is averaging 10.4 points and 11.5 rebounds for a playoff team. New York declined the third-year option on Larkin, traded Ellington immediately, and released Dalembert in January. Early is shooting 34 percent from the field in an injury-plagued rookie year, and Antetokounmpo has yet to earn a call-up from the D-League.

Calderon has been so disappointing that Jackson reportedly tried to deal him before the trade deadline, via Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com. The Spaniard is scheduled to make $15 million over the next two seasons. New York would be better off with Felton, whose contract expires in 2016.

In January, Jackson used Shumpert to entice the Cleveland Cavaliers to take J.R. Smith off his hands, receiving a future second-round pick in return. Both Shumpert and Smith are key contributors on a Cavs team that has had the best record in the league over the past two months.

Hardaway looked like a future starting 2-guard after an impressive rookie season and was an attractive commodity last summer. His shooting percentage has plummeted to 39 percent this season, as seen in the chart below, via NBA.com. Considering that he does not pass, rebound or defend, he carries little value for the Knicks or any other team.

Hardaway

New York’s personnel decisions are indicative of a franchise that lacks experience and structure in the front office. Jackson is a novice executive, and general manager Steve Mills had not worked in basketball operations before last year. Neither has the type of connections around the league that facilitate deals.

Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck reported in January that one Western Conference executive said, “No one has Steve Mills’ phone number.” Another executive indicated that unlike most teams, the Knicks have no one who regularly calls around to gauge the value of players, or to get a sense of who is available.

Jackson has accepted blame for the team’s horrid season. The Zen Master issued a mea culpa following the Shumpert/Smith trade. “I take responsibility for it,” he said, via Al Iannazzone of Newsday.com.

Jackson continued, “Now I have to do the job that I was brought here to do.”

There is still an opportunity for him to build a contender in New York. He has Carmelo Anthony, a top draft pick this year and a ton of cap space over the next two summers to work with.

But, tearing down a roster was supposed to be the easy part. Jackson has not provided any reason to believe that he can build one.

How Carmelo Anthony’s Past May Influence His Decision This Summer

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Carmelo Anthony will have the opportunity to sign a maximum-salary contract for the third time in his career if he opts out of his current deal with the New York Knicks to become a free agent this summer, as expected. He cashed in on each of the previous two occasions, agreeing to deals with the Denver Nuggets and Knicks totaling $145 million, yet those decisions precipitated a void that dollars cannot fill.

One of the greatest scorers of this generation has made just one trip past the second round of the playoffs and has yet to compete in the NBA Finals during his 11 seasons in the league.

The cynical point of view is that Anthony simply valued money above all else. However, several factors impacted his contractual decisions, including a short-sighted agent, a desire to play in a big market and an untimely lockout. It is also easy judge those decisions harshly in hindsight by downplaying the role that unforeseen circumstances played in his experiences in Denver and New York.

Anthony signed his first veteran contract in the summer of 2006, with one year remaining on his rookie deal with the Nuggets. Denver offered the 22-year-old the maximum amount allowed under the collective bargaining agreement, $80 million over five years, and Anthony jumped at it. The deal included a clause which enabled Carmelo to opt out after the fourth year.

“It was a no-brainer for me,” Anthony said. “When all the rumors were out there saying I was signing this type of deal or that type of deal, my family called me and said, ‘Look, are you crazy?’ Growing up we don’t have [much],” via ESPN.com.

Anthony’s friends and fellow members of the 2003 draft class, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, did not believe that signing the maximum deals offered by their respective teams (the same five years and $80 million) was a “no-brainer.” All three sacrificed a substantial amount of guaranteed money in favor of greater wealth down the road and signed three-year contracts worth about $43 million, with a player option for a fourth year.

Bosh, Wade and James understood that as seven-year veterans they would be eligible to negotiate a maximum contract worth 30 percent of the salary cap if they opted out of their contracts in 2010. Players with less than seven years of experience can only earn up to 25 percent of the cap.

Carmelo and LeBron have been friends since high school.

Carmelo and LeBron have been friends since high school.

In 2010, James, Wade and Bosh joined forces on the Miami Heat and are currently pursuing a third consecutive championship. Anthony, who has been close friends with James since high school, and played with all three on the U.S. Olympic team, could have teamed up with one or more of the future Hall of Famers in a number of locations, including Miami and New York, if he had signed a shorter deal. He also would have avoided the complications presented by the lockout the following year. Instead, Carmelo could not become a free agent until the summer of 2011.

Anthony refused a contract extension offered by the Nuggets in 2010 and the Brooklyn native made it known that he wanted to sign a maximum-salary contract to play with his friend Amar’e Stoudemire for the Knicks. A long-anticipated lockout of the players by the owners following the 2010-11 season put a wrench in his plan.

Amid widespread speculation that maximum salaries would be significantly reduced under the new CBA, Anthony felt compelled to sign a new deal before the lockout. The only way he could do that with the Knicks would be if the Nuggets traded him to New York before the 2011 trade deadline, so he requested a trade.

The star forward had leverage over Denver. He could have left them empty-handed by departing via free agency over the summer and was able to determine his destination by refusing to sign an extension with any team other than the Knicks.

Denver obliged and on Feb. 21, 2011, traded Anthony, along with Chauncey Billups, Anthony Carter, Renaldo Balkman and Shelden Williams to the Knicks in exchange for Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Timofey Mozgov, second round picks in 2012 and 2013, a first round pick in 2014 and the right to swap picks with the Knicks in 2016, as part of a three-way deal that also involved the Minnesota Timberwolves. Anthony promptly signed the largest extension allowed under the CBA, a three-year, $65 million deal, beginning in 2012-13.

The move backfired on Anthony. Stoudemire’s body began to give out soon after Carmelo’s arrival. The six-time All-Star played sporadically over the past three seasons and has been reduced to a shadow of the explosive superstar he was with the Phoenix Suns.

Carmelo never had the opportunity to play with a healthy Stoudemire.

Carmelo never had the opportunity to play with a healthy Stoudemire.

The NBA gifted the Knicks a way out from under Stoudemire’s colossal contract with an amnesty clause in the new CBA. Instead, the Knicks used the provision to erase the final year of Chauncey Billups’s contract from the cap in December, 2011, just six months after picking up the option on his deal, in order to sign Tyson Chandler.

To make matters worse, the rollback on maximum salaries under the new CBA was not nearly as severe as the players had feared. In the first year of a new contract, a player may still receive up to 105 percent of his prior salary. Annual increases for non-Bird contracts (which Anthony’s would have been had he signed with the Knicks as a free agent) dropped from 8 percent to 4.5 percent.

The Knicks were expected to have about $17 million in cap space in the summer of 2011, assuming they renounced the rights to free agent Wilson Chandler, though they would not have had much trouble unloading a player, such as Anthony Randolph (who was traded to Minnesota in the Anthony deal and was scheduled to make $2.9 million in 2011-12, or Ronny Turiaf, who earned $4.3 million that season) in order to offer Melo a max deal.

The maximum amount Anthony could have earned over the 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons by signing with the Knicks as a free agent would have been about $58, $7 million less than the extension he agreed to. However, since Anthony will be opting out of the final year of the deal, it is worth noting that the difference in money during the first two years of the contract extension would have been about $3 million.

For $3 million, Anthony ensured that three-and-half years of his prime would be spent on a mediocre team with virtually no financial flexibility, young talent or draft picks.

He could not have anticipated the exact results of the lockout, how much New York would give up for him or that Stoudemire’s career would nose-dive, but he did know that he was depleting the team’s talent and limiting its maneuverability. The Knicks could have used the assets they surrendered for him to acquire another star, such as Chris Paul, to add talent through the draft or create cap space. Anthony also should have been aware that he was committing to a team with an incompetent owner and a history of head-scratching personnel moves.

Now Carmelo finds himself at a crossroads once again. He turns 30 on May 29th. Basketball mortality is on the horizon. This is his last shot at a maximum-salary contract. It is also his final opportunity to put himself in position to be a top dog on a championship contender.

New York can offer him $33 million more than any other team, but that cash comes with no guarantees. The Knicks will not have the cap space to add another star player until 2015, and their track record, combined with a dearth of valuable assets does not instill confidence in their ability to build a contender. Teams like the Chicago Bulls and Houston Rockets have the pieces in place to win a championship with Anthony in the fold.

LeBron took control of his own destiny by sacrificing a little money to join Wade and Bosh in Miami, rather than relying on faith that the Cleveland Cavaliers would build a championship team around him. Carmelo should take a cue from his friend. History suggests otherwise.

Where Would the Knicks be if They Had Not Traded for Carmelo Anthony?

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http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1822498-where-would-ny-knicks-be-if-carmelo-anthony-trade-had-never-happened

Not All NBA Maximum-Salary Contracts Are Equal

DeMarcus Cousins just signed a new "max contract" with the Sacramento Kings.

DeMarcus Cousins just signed a new “max contract” with the Sacramento Kings.

I recently suggested to a friend that it may not be in the Knicks’ best interest to sign Carmelo Anthony to a “max contract” if he opts out of his current deal next summer, as expected. “How can you say that Anthony is not worth a max deal when Sacramento just committed max dollars to DeMarcus Cousins,” he responded, with a look of disbelief.

Without delving into the merits of Cousins’ deal—a topic for another day—I explained to my friend that Cousins’ contract is worth a total of $62 million. A new “max deal” for Anthony would cost the Knicks in excess of $129 million.

The term “maximum-salary contract” or “max contract” for short, is generally used to describe a deal in which a player receives the most amount of money per season allowed by the collective bargaining agreement. The phrase is thrown around so haphazardly that many fans are under the false impression that all “max contracts” are equal. In fact, as demonstrated by the Cousins-Anthony comparison, max salaries can vary tremendously depending on numerous factors, including how the long the player has been in the league, his previous contract and the team he signs.

Under the CBA, players have both a minimum and maximum salary based on how many years they have played, though several exceptions apply. Players who have been in the NBA for 0-6 seasons can sign a deal worth up to 25 percent of the salary cap ($13,701,250 in 2013-14). Those who have spent 7-9 seasons in the league can earn up to 30 percent of the cap ($16,441,500 in 2013-14), and players with a tenure of 10 years or more can receive a maximum of 35 percent of the salary cap ($19,181,750).

Exceptions to the limits for players on rookie deals

The CBA limits the length of a rookie’s contract to four years. An exception to the rule is that each team can sign one “Designated Player” under a rookie contract to a five-year deal. Teams can only name one “Designated player” (A team cannot name a new designated player until the last one’s contract expires), though they can trade for another team’s designated player. No team can have more than two total designated players on its roster.

Members of the media have repeatedly referred to Cousins’ new contract as a “max deal” because he will be making the maximum amount of money allowed over a four-year period, though the label is misleading. The Sacramento Kings chose not to name him their “Designated Player,” though they were free to do so. They could have paid the talented big man the maximum amount allowed for an additional season.

Paul George just agreed to a new five-year deal with the Indiana Pacers.

Paul George just agreed to a new five-year deal with the Indiana Pacers.

Paul George, who like Cousins is heading into his fourth season, was recently named a “Designated Player” by the Indiana Pacers and signed a new five-year deal reportedly worth between $80 and $90 million, depending on the salary cap. You may recall that the Minnesota Timberwolves irked forward Kevin Love when they refused to name him their “Designated Player” in January, 2012. Minnesota signed Love to a four-year contract, opting to save the “Designated Player” label for Ricky Rubio.

There is even ambiguity in the term “max contract” as it applies to George’s deal.

The Derrick Rose Rule

Derrick Rose won the MVP award in 2011.

Derrick Rose won the MVP award in 2011.

The CBA includes an exception known as “The Derrick Rose Rule” (Rose was the only player it applied to when the CBA was passed in 2011) which allows a “Designated Player” to earn 30 percent of the salary cap (as opposed to the standard 25) if he meets certain criteria. To be eligible, the player must have been voted a starter in the All-Star Game twice, MVP or named to an All-NBA First, Second or Third Team twice. So far, only Rose and Blake Griffin have accomplished one of those feats on their rookie deals.

James Harden agreed to a provisional “5th year, 30 percent” deal with the Houston Rockets when he was traded to the team on the eve of the 2012-13 season, but failed to meet the criteria. Like Harden, George is guaranteed a fifth year, with his “30 percent” status contingent on him meeting the criteria. George was named to the All-NBA Third Team last season so he can cash in with another All-NBA selection.

The difference between Harden’s deal, which is limited to 25 percent of the cap and Griffin’s at 30 percent is in excess of $15 million.

Maximum-salary exceptions for veterans (The Larry Bird Exception)

The Larry Bird exception will enable the Knicks to pay Carmelo Anthony more than other teams.

The Larry Bird exception will enable the Knicks to pay Carmelo Anthony more than other teams.

Veteran contracts work a little differently. For starters, a free agent’s maximum salary in the first year of his new contract can never be less than 105 percent of his salary in the last year of his old contract. That rule applies even if it puts the player’s salary above the percentage of cap space typically allowed.

In general, like players on rookie contracts, veterans cannot sign deals longer than four years. The “Larry Bird Exception” is designed to provide incentive for players to re-sign with their old team. A player obtains “Bird rights” by playing for the same team or under the same contract for three consecutive seasons. Those rights transfer with a player if he is traded. They enable a player to re-sign with his current team for a greater duration (five years) and more money (with annual raises of up to 7.5 percent of his salary in the first season of the contract, compared to 4.5 percent increases for non-Bird contracts.)

Take Carmelo Anthony for example. He is scheduled to make $21,388,953 in 2013-14. If he opts out of his contract after this season he can sign a four-year deal with another team, beginning at $22.457 million (105 percent of $21.389) with increases based upon changes in the salary cap over the following seasons. If he re-signs with New York, he can make $22.457 in his first year, with annual increases of 7.5 percent of that $22.457 million ($1.684 million) for another four years. The rest of his contract would look like this:

2015-16: $24.141 million
2016-17: $25.825 million
2017-18: $27.509 million
2018-19: $29.193 million

Depending on the cap number over the next few seasons, the Knicks can offer him in the area of $33-$34 million more than other teams. That gives you an idea of how much money Dwight Howard left on the table when he relinquished his Bird rights to sign with the Houston Rockets instead of the Los Angeles Lakers. Yet, Howard’s contract with Houston is still referred to as a “max deal.”

If Anthony signs a max contract with the Knicks, he will be 34 years old in the last year of the deal and take up nearly half of the team’s cap space. It would be extremely difficult for New York to surround the star forward with the pieces necessary to win a championship. That is why I believe the Knicks should think twice before signing such an agreement.

Contracts signed under the previous CBA and a Kobe Bryant Mega-deal

Kobe Bryant will make over $30 million this season.

Kobe Bryant will make over $30 million this season.

Bird rights apply even if a player’s salary is in excess of 35 percent of the salary cap because it was signed under the old CBA. Kobe Bryant is owed $30,452,805 in the last season of a three-year extension he signed with the Lakers in 2010. In theory, the Black Mamba could sign a new maximum-salary contract with the Lakers that would start at just under $32 million. The remainder of the deal would shake out as follows:

2015-16: $34.374
2016-17: $36.772
2017-18: $39.170
2018-19: $41.568

The contract could total $183.859 million. That’s a lot more than the $62 million “max contract” Sacramento agreed to with Cousins. Of course, the Lakers will not offer their aging superstar anywhere near that amount, even though according to SI.com, Bryant has indicated that he does not plan on taking a pay cut next season.

* Salary cap information obtained from Larry Coon’s cbafaq.com

Biggest Questions the New York Knicks Must Answer Before the Start of the Season

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http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1715365-biggest-questions-ny-knicks-must-answer-before-2013-14-season

What’s Keeping Carmelo Anthony Out of the MVP Discussion?

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http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1619038-whats-keeping-carmelo-anthony-out-of-the-mvp-discussion



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