Maybe it’s just last-second posturing to swing the best deal possible for the Knicks. Maybe Donnie Walsh knows something that no one else in basketball knows. Whatever it is, it appears that the piece standing in the way of the Knicks potentially being able to sign both LeBron James and Chris Bosh (or someone on his level) is … Jordan Hill?
You remember Jordan Hill don’t you? He’s the Arizona big man that the Knicks took with the No. 8 pick in this past summer’s NBA Draft ahead of THIS GUY. Well, Jordan has appeared in all of 22 games this season, averaging 4.1 points for a mediocre-at-best team.
Hill appears to be far away from being any kind of contributing player in this league, but the Knicks’ insistence on holding on to him is reportedly the final obstacle preventing a Tracy McGrady/Jared Jeffries/Al Harrington or Larry Hughes (and potentially a future Knicks draft pick) swap that would open up tons of cap space (approximately $35 million after this season is over) and make the Knicks truly big-time players on the free agent market.
Clearly there is no guarantee that making the McGrady deal is definitely going to lead to LeBron, or Bosh, or the two of them both heading to New York. Of course there is a scenario where the Knicks could be left holding the bag and not get any big names in free agency, but what other choice do they have? There has been so much build up to 2010 free agency, especially in the Knicks’ case, they have to at least appear that they’re going all out to get James, Bosh, Dwyane Wade, or other top players.
If it doesn’t work out with LeBron/Bosh/Wade, what’s the worst that can happen? They get to re-boot the franchise, which is clearly something they need to do anyway. Today’s New York Post outlines a potential worst-case scenario that would allow them, if they make the T-Mac deal with Hill included, where they could re-sign David Lee and then sign a guy like Carlos Boozer. There’s obviously no guarantee there either, but swapping Jared Jeffries and Jordan hill for Lee and Boozer sounds like a no-brainer for the Knicks, right? Even if they end up just landing Boozer and lose Lee to free agency, it’s still a win in my book. They’re still much better than they were with Jeffries and Hill on the roster. Not to mention that of they wanted to, they could always re-sign McGrady at a drastically reduced price.
The bottom line is that if the Knicks don’t do this deal to set themselves up to be in the best possible spot to add both LeBron and Chris Bosh to their roster, it will be flying in the face of everything they’ve done to this point to put themselves in that very position. At the very least, doing this deal will make them a better team in the long run, even if no huge free agent signings come through this summer. If including Jordan Hill is the only way to make this T-Mac deal happen, it has to done. The only possible reasons to not include Jordan in this deal would be A) Walsh is sure that Hill’s going to be star; a piece to build the franchise around moving forward or B) sheer stubbornness and ego. It’s already bad enough that fans and critics kill the Knicks for not taking Jennings with that No. 8 pick; trading Hill less than a year after drafting him will be perceived by many as Walsh admitting to making a mistake – something that no GM wants to ever own up to.
Donnie may very well play chicken with the Rockets as long as he can in order to possibly keep Hill and still pull off a T-Mac trade, but when it comes down to it, if that’s the only way to get McGrady and his contract to New York, it has to be done.
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