Saturday, April 09, 2011

KNICKS-NETS; State of a Rivalry Under Renovation

As Of Friday Night

Showdown in Newark


The Rock, Newark

KNICKS ~ 116
NETS ~ 93

The New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets
Concluded Their Season Series Friday Night. 
The Inner-City Rivalry is Still One More Season Away.

THE STATE OF THE RIVALRY ADDRESS:  Still Under Reconstruction.

One team is in the playoffs.  The other team is not.  But why do I feel like the team that's going to the playoffs has more problems than the team that is not?

The team that isn't going to the playoffs still suffers major identity crisis until they get to Brooklyn. I have a reliable source that says there were about 12 Net fans in the building; the source being my son.  Of course he said that in jest but it wasn't very far from being true.  It's hard to ignore, one; the major spike in attendance for a Nets' game, and, two; that spike was directly attributable to Knick fans filling the place.  The Nets have one home game left on the schedule, and one more season in Newark for the folks in N.J. to be apathetic about before the Nets' relocation to Brooklyn.  Who can blame them?  How do you get behind a team that you know is leaving town? - Albeit not such a dramatic move; they're just moving to the other side of New York Harbor.

My son said traffic going through Staten Island on their way to The Rock was horrific.  Well, it's no different coming back to Brooklyn.  So what incentive would a loyal Net fan who still plans on attending games in Brooklyn have for making such a trek?  Love of team?  It's going to be rough.  I won't lie about that.  But I will also say this.  I go to about 7 to 10 Newark Bears (Atlantic League) games a season.  Why?  Because I like that league.  It's different.  But the point is, I do drive to Newark from Brooklyn.  So, it's do-able.

In the mean time, the trick for the Nets will be to, one; get Deron Williams' wrist OK again, and two; figuring out a way to get him to sign with the team beyond his current deal.  The Nets in the mean time, are now trying to maximize Deron Williams' star appeal with a new marketing ad in Times Square.  Next on the docket for the Nets will be another summer of dabbling in free-agency and, with an abundance of picks, hopefully for them, a prosperous draft lies ahead.

And what of the team that is going to the playoffs?


The Knicks are back in the playoffs...  How about that?! 

But the man most responsible for making that happen, is the one who is least assured of his current job status.  Didn't Jim Dolan promise Knick fans he would address Donnie Walsh's contract extension once the Melo trade was out of the way?  But since then, we heard continuing Isiah Thomas talk and little about extending Donnie Walsh.  Now John Calipari is the latest name being pushed around the Garden as successor to Donnie Walsh? 

Nothing against Calipari (yet...!), but what about Donnie Walsh?  We keep hearing so many things, but what we haven't heard is that Donnie Walsh has been signed to an extension.  That's where my head is at.  But it's also still unclear whether Donnie Walsh wants to come back.  That can be because of age and lack of desire to be here or want of being closer to home.  But there's also a very real possibility Donnie Walsh just doesn't want to work for Jim Dolan anymore.  My take is Jim Dolan interceded into Donnie Walsh's affairs as GM far too many times versus not at all when Zeke was running things here.  That speaks volumes to me.

Jim Dolan the Entertainment Mogul may not have been on the same page as Donnie Walsh with regard to how the Melo trade went down.  To me, the threat of Mikhail Prokhorov's Nets in Brooklyn is the real impetus for Mr. Dolan tripping over himself and stepping on Donnie Walsh's toes to sign Melo.  The attraction of two stars to fill his renovated arena is where Dolan's mind is at.  The best interests of the team are not.  Otherwise, he would have let Donnie Walsh conduct Melo negotiations under Donnie's terms and never have gotten involved.  What I'm saying is we have an owner doing something right (acquiring Melo) but doing them for all the wrong reasons.  So, I'm still not entirely sure that the Knicks future is as bright as it may appear right now.  Outside of opposing the West Side Stadium project, Dolan was never seen nor heard from in all Zeke's days at MSG.  But the Nets and Brooklyn were still far from being joined together.  As the Nets relocation nears, Dolan, only recently felt it necessary to involve himself in team affairs like never before.

But here we are none-the-less.  It's great the Knicks are in the playoffs again, don't get me wrong.  But I don't have lofty expectations going into the NBA's second season.  We are still a player, a season, a plan which fits these players, and inevitably, we might be a coach away from real, tangible success.  These playoffs might do more to get Coach D fired than anything else.  Now all of a sudden, when you have two star players, there are twice as many expectations.  And if the team gets knocked out in the first round, some one might need to be scapegoated.  We all know who that will be.  He's the only guy Knick fans are complaining about.   And we all know how that goes too.

Do I want Coach D fired?  I wouldn't word it quite that way, but the truth is I have considered the idea of replacing him.  I only say that because I feel we have a coach and a philosophy that are in-congruent with the players trying to implement said plan.  I do think Coach D is a good coach though.  But I might be leaning more and more towards him just not being right for this team.  For this Knick team, I actually think the guys in Newark have a coach that's better suited for New York's roster.  Of course he's not available.  I'm also not going to say I have someone else in mind.  I don't.  Jerry Sloan is home.  Give him a call?

I'll leave all the other little details for a next post before the playoffs start.

Game Recap Knicks 116;  Nets 93  by Chris Alvino at The Knicks Blog
NBA Fines Jay-Z.. By Graham Watson; Rivals/
Brook Lopez, The Only Nets Starter Left Standing, Has Shined Down The Stretch,  by Colin Stephenson/Star Ledger;
Done For The Season, D-Will and Hump Finish With Double Doubles  by NET INCOME at


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