The New York Knicks are back in town again, so NAS has talked with Tommy Dee over at The Knicks Blog to get some insights about the Knicks’ improved play, Nate Robinson, David Lee and other things about the team.
NAS: A lot has been made about the benching of Nate Robinson, but the Knicks are clearly playing better without him. How much are these two things connected, and how do you see “Nategate” playing out?
I noticed mid-year last year that D’Antoni had soured on Nate, but he was playing well at the time and since they had limited options at the guard spot, Nate still go minutes. This year, with the addition of both Larry Hughes and Toney Douglas, who now will receive rotation minutes, D’Antoni has options. He doesn’t feel Nate is his type of player and as a proven coach, he reserves that rite. In the end, I don’t see Nate being traded or bought out based on the fact that teams had the chance to sign him this past off season and received zero offers.
NAS: David Lee may be playing himself out of the Knicks’ price range by the end of the season. If you were Donnie Walsh, would you find a way to ink Lee long-term this summer?
Walsh’s plan has been clear since day 1, he wants the opportunity to sit down with a major free agent July 1st. Lee has said he wants to be part of the solution here, but as you mentioned, he may demand a contract out of the Knicks’ price range. Is he the defensive presence in the middle on a 50-plus win team? Moreover, the four position in D’Antoni system has to be able to stretch defenders out to the perimeter, which isn’t Lee’s game. If a team jumps on Lee right away in July, which they didn’t do last summer, then his career may be over in New York. It will be interesting to see how that shakes out.
NAS: Part of what’s wonderful about playing in the Eastern Conference is you could be under .500 and still in playoff contention. Any chance the Knicks make a deal that could put them over the hump and into the 8th seed?
I think some Knick fans think that player is Tracy McGrady, but that’s a big question mark for me. They will have to trade rotation players to be able to match salaries. If the Rockets take back salary, read Jared Jeffries, I think Walsh would deal, but the team has played well enough recently to at least sniff 6-7 games under .500. If they get to a place where they can sustain 3-4 games under with this group, I think Walsh will pass on McGrady, but again if he can move Jeffries he has to do it. I’d like to see them take a hard look at Randy Foye who is out of the mix in Washington. He’d help them.