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Six Pack: “Ridiculous” Reaction to Melo’s Comment
Posted By Tommy Beer On July 27, 2012 @ 12:00 pm In All,Main Page,NBA | No Comments
HOOPSWORLD’s Senior NBA Analyst Tommy Beer takes you through his most recent musings on the National Basketball Association in this latest installment of the NBA Six Pack…
1. NBA Approves Expanded Use of Instant Replay
It seems to have flown under the radar, but David Stern and company should be applauded for taking proactive steps to improve their product this offseason.
Per a July press release, the league announced that the Board of Governors unanimously approved three additional uses of instant replay review for the upcoming 2012-13 season.
Instant replay may now be used:
* To review Flagrant 1 calls. Officials will now call a foul “Flagrant” on the floor and then use instant replay to make a determination as to the whether the foul is a Flagrant 1, Flagrant 2 or a common foul (if they decide after viewing replay that the foul was not Flagrant).
* To determine whether a defender was inside or outside the “restricted area” for purposes of block/charge calls during the last two minutes of regulation play or at any point during overtime.
* To determine the accuracy of goaltending calls made in the last two minutes of regulation play or at any point during overtime.
Poor officiating, especially at the end of important playoff games, was a major point of contention for many fans last postseason. In particular, folks were annoyed at the “flopping” that took place around the basket on drives to the hoop.
Credit to the NBA for recognizing a problem and taking steps to address it…
2. Reasons for the Loss of Linsanity are Laughable
I understand that most of us are probably sick and tired of reading and writing about Linsanity (myself included). However, I’d like to post a few final paragraphs on the topic before we put it to bed for the summer.
Let’s start here: It doesn’t matter if you think Jeremy Lin will be a superstar or a scrub.
It doesn’t matter if I believe Lin will eventually lead the league in assists, or is forever banished to the bench.
In fact, it’s essentially irrelevant whether or not Knicks GM Glen Grunwald was convinced Lin will somehow double the incredible numbers he posted during the heights of Linsanity, or never post another double-double in his entire career.
The fact of the matter is that other NBA teams and general managers had faith in Lin’s abilities. And for that reason, letting Lin walk and getting nothing in return was an inexcusable and indefensible mistake by the Knicks franchise.
That simple truth has been ignored or conveniently avoided by so many in the media, whose job it is give a complete and through account, allowing fans to make informed opinions.
In the days following the disclosure of New York’s decision to not match the Houston Rockets’ offer sheet, I was shocked at the misinformation dispensed by many media members and news outlets as a whole. I actually heard talk radio hosts here in New York claiming the Knicks made the right decision because “they saved cap space.” These weren’t angry, ignorant callers – this was the host. Yikes.
Down the dial, another radio station was conducting a poll, and caller after caller was stating how happy they were the Knicks didn’t match. Some of the reasons they gave included: “Raymond Felton was far better and a more reliable option at PG;” and of course because “the move would save the Knicks money and allow them to get better players in the future.”
As I attempted to make abundantly clear in my column last week, the Knicks didn’t have to choose between Jeremy Lin and future cap space; or decide to keep either Lin or Felton. Due to an extremely fortunate court ruling which granted New York Lin’s “Bird Rights,” the Knicks were able to exceed the salary cap in order to retain their promising young PG. However, by letting Lin walk, Grunwald will not be able to spend the $25 million he “saved” on a different player next summer.
And for a team that is capped out and has traded away the majority of their future draft picks, letting an asset like Lin walk out the door without getting anything in return is incredibly shortsighted. Even if NY was convinced Lin’s future wasn’t particularly bright, the smart course of action would have been to match the offer sheet, and then deal him at the deadline, or next summer. In this way, you would be able to address a future need. As it stands now, the Knicks have a limited capacity to improve their roster going forward.
The only prohibitive obstacle to retaining Lin would have been an increased luxury tax bill in 2015. And, as many men smarter than myself have pointed out, New York could have utilized a stretch provision which would have made that tax hit far more palatable.
Even if you ignore the reality of the stretch provision, and assume a massive tax hit three years from now, Knicks owner James Dolan has paid far more for much, much less. As @statcenter pointed out on Twitter last week, here are just a few players that the Knicks have paid over $8 million to in a single season over the previous decade: Maurice Taylor, Shandon Anderson, Eddy Curry, Tim Thomas, Jalen Rose, Quentin Richardson, Larry Hughes, Cuttino Mobley, etc.
To further illustrate the point, according to Shamsports.com, the Knicks have paid a total of $195 million in luxury tax since 2003, by far the most in the NBA.
Yet, the Knicks chose to embrace fiscal austerity at the expense of Lin? A player who brought in boatloads of dough last season?
In addition, I have to admit I was also shocked at the number of Knicks fans supporting the decision to dump Lin because it would keep more money in Dolan’s wallet. These are the same fans that pay over $100 per ticket to watch games inside MSG, and then fork over another 10 bucks to buy one beer. Those exorbitant prices are effectively a “luxury tax” against the average working New Yorker. And let’s not kid ourselves by even suggesting that the money Dolan saved will trickle down to the fans. We know the Knicks have no intention of lowering ticket prices or reducing the cost of cotton candy. That money is not leaving the Dolan family coffers.
Back to the matter at hand: So, we know this wasn’t strictly a “basketball decision” because the Knicks didn’t have to sacrifice a single player in order to keep Lin in NYC. And it clearly wasn’t solely due to money as many have made it seem.
Where does that leave us? The only plausible explanation is that Dolan was in fact upset and personally angered that Lin supposedly convinced the Rockets to up their offer. Never mind the fact that Coach Mike Woodson and everyone else associated with the Knicks proclaimed for the whole world to hear that New York planned on matching any offer. Somehow, Dolan was convinced that Daryl Morey lives under a rock and wasn’t privy to information that any fan with a Twitter account had know for weeks.
So, instead of making a sound basketball decision that would improve the chances of competing for a championship, Dolan ended up cutting off his nose to spite his face. Ironically, if Dolan had really wanted to burn Morey, he would have matched Lin, which would have left the Rockets scrambling for a PG without any attractive options on the open market. Instead, Houston got their man, and the Knicks lost a valuable asset and have nothing to show for it.
If you’re wondering why the Knicks, once a flagship NBA franchise, have won a grand total of one playoff game since 2001, a primary reason is because all too often in New York ego, anger and immaturity outweigh rational, reasoned thinking when important decisions are made.
3. Ridiculous Reaction to Melo’s “Ridiculous Contract” comment
James Dolan isn’t the only one to come off looking poorly in this whole Linsanity mess – it wasn’t the media’s finest hour either. Earlier I alluded to how many in the media missed the point on the Linsanity decision. In addition, on a related note, I had to laugh at the reaction to Carmelo Anthony’s supposedly inflammatory remarks regarding whether or not the Knicks should/would match the Rockets’ offer sheet.
For those that may have missed it, when the exact specifications of the offer Lin received from Houston was made public, reporters rushed to Melo (who was in D.C. practicing with the Olympic Team) for his take on the topic. Per the AP, he was first asked if he could envision Lin returning to the Knicks next season. His response: ”At this point there’s a lot going on. I stay away from that part right now. I would love to see him back, but I think he has to do what’s best for him right now.”
Anthony was then reminded it’s up to the Knicks, not Lin, to decide whether he stays or goes. ”It’s not up to me,” Anthony said with a laugh. ”It’s up to the organization to say they want to match that ridiculous contract that’s out there.”
Now, having a front row seat for the contentious battle between Melo and the New York tabloids, I am always amused at the media’s ability to twist a quote to fit into a prefabricated construct. But, I must admit, even I was surprised to see this “offensive and insulting” comment used to portray Melo as vicious opponent of Lin returning to NYC.
The key here, for those aiming to paint Melo in as bad a light as possible, is to take the quote entirely out of context, i.e. completely ignore and disregard the fact that Anthony said 30 seconds earlier that he would “love” to see Lin return to New York. But that’s just the first step…
The next move is asserting that Melo was insinuating that Lin is a scrub who doesn’t deserve a major pay raise, when in fact the adjective “ridiculous” referred to the structure of the back-loaded contract, not whether or not the recipient was deserving of the sum total of $24.9 million.
Although it’s besides the point, if we are all going to be honest, the contract was relatively “ridiculous” and a bit bizarre. How many three-year contracts, in any walk of life, pay 150% more for the third year of service than the first two years of service combined? Wouldn’t any contract that included a so-called “poison pill” be deemed somewhat outlandish? Would even Daryl Morey argue this point?
Asked later for a clarification of what he actually meant, Melo responded: “It was ridiculous for them to do what they did, as far as throwing that out there and making it tougher on us to sign him back.” Melo added: “Ask Lin, he’ll tell you what a good relationship we have… I hope we get it done, man. I would love to see him back, honestly. I would definitely love to see him back.” (For the complete story, including full quotes, click here)
But that part of the story, which wouldn’t create nearly as many headlines or generate the same number of page views, was drastically under reported relative to the “ridiculous” attention the first quote received.
In the days that followed the initial comment, Melo was pounded publicly, some even going so far as to call him a racist because he suggested Asian players didn’t deserve that kind of payday. I mean, you can’t make this stuff up…
For a clear, concrete depiction of my point here, check out the Twitter timeline of Newsday’s reporter Rod Boone (@rodboone). Boone was on the scene that day standing next to Melo and was one of the first reporters to spread word or Anthony’s remarks. Examining Boone’s timeline a few days later, I was fascinated to find which quote got the most interest and attention.
Melo’s “ridiculous contract” quote was re-tweeted a total of 505 times. In contrast, Melo’s “I’d love to see him come back” quote was re-tweeted just 27 times. These two quotes were posted within minutes of each other. Shortly after the quotes went up, Boone explained: “To be clear, melo wasn’t taking a shot at Lin, he was taking a shot at Rockets for ridiculous $14.9 million balloon payment in Year 3.” That tweet was RT’ed just 22 times.
But the toothpaste was already out of the tube. It wasn’t going to get put back in neatly. Those with an agenda had heard all they needed to; they certainly weren’t going to let facts or the complete picture and the quotes in full context get in the way of what could be a story that would help sell newspapers and generate clicks.
Now, Melo isn’t completely blameless here either. He has been in New York long enough to understand that the media will twist comments as needed to manufacture controversy. Anthony’s lack of savvy when dealing with the New York tabloids is almost inconceivable. Somehow, he still hasn’t learned that a simple “no comment” might just be his best friend when talking with reporters. Melo has buried himself time and again by trying to be accommodating and saying what is on his mind. Carmelo needs to take a page out of Derek Jeter’s book and give the most boring answer possible. Discretion is often the better part of valor when dealing with headline writers thirsty for a back page tagline that will get passersby to cough up a few quarters for that day’s paper.
4. Highlights of the Week:
With the NBA obviously on hiatus – we have to get creative span the world a bit this week…
* Jason Williams with his patented, amazing Elbow Pass to Scottie Pippen. (And, unlike, Raef LaFrentz, Pippen cashes in):
* Great clips of Team USA in action from the “Phantom Camera:”
* Undrafted rookie Scott Machado doing what he does in Vegas:
* One more from Machado for good measure:
* Dunk of the Summer right here – D2 Player at the Ben Wallace Pro Am:
5. Tweets of the Week
@JerryZgoda: So here’s what the Wolves got for Al Jefferson, basically: Chase Budinger, Malcolm Lee and cash.
@russbengtson: The Orlando Magic will open the 2012-13 NBA season against Dwight Howard.
@netw3rk: Every Dwight report should be prefaced with “Listen, I know you don’t care but it’s my job…”
6. 2011-2012 Season in Stats
(Throughout the offseason I’ll pass along some of the more interesting stats I stumbled across last season):
* Clippers point guard Chris Paul was the only player in the NBA last season to average over 19.0 points, over nine assists and 2.5 steals; and is one of only two players in NBA history to complete a season with averages of 19+ ppg, 9+ apg and 2.5+ spg. (Tim Hardaway was the other, in 1990-1991).
* There were only two players in the league last year to average over 7 rebounds and 1.5 steals = Paul Millsap and LeBron James.
* Andre Bynum became just the fifth Laker in franchise history (joining Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and George Mikan) to record 30+ rebounds in a single game on 4/30, then, L.A.’s next game, scored 30 points in a 103-97 Lakers victory over the Denver Nuggets at STAPLES Center. In doing so, Bynum became the first NBA player with 30 rebounds in one game and 30 points in the next since Moses Malone had 32 rebounds on February 11, 1982 and then scored 32 points in his next game, two days later.
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