January Transfer Targets: Tottenham

By Zach Malamud

Tottenham is just looking to get into a Champions league spot for next season as it doesn’t look like anyone is going to catch Manchester City. But, Spurs did go undefeated in the group stage of this year’s Champions League in what was so called the “Group of Death” with Real Madrid and German runner-ups Borussia Dortmund. To secure a top-four spot and even try to win the Champions League this year, here are some players that Tottenham can look at during the January transfer window:

#1. Cedric Bakambu- Villarreal

With Harry Kane on fire, Tottenham still have lost games where they have not scored many goals. Spurs are also looking for an extra striker as Fernando Llorente who they bought from Swansea over the summer, has not met expectations when Kane needs a rest. Bakambu is on fire to start the season with 14 goals in 21 appearances. Therefore, I do believe that Spurs have a shot to get the Congo striker if they give up a good chunk of money for one of the best strikers in La Liga so far this season.

#2. David Neres- Ajax

The 20-year old Brazilian has caught the attention of many teams as he is on absolute fire with 8 goals and 11 assists through just 16 appearances in Eredivisie. He has been given the name “Little Neymar” by the press and he could be headed to Spurs, Man United or AC Milan if he keeps this run up. He could be a big help for Spurs as a long term option with Moussa Sissoko and Victor Wanyama having injury problems. He would be an extra midfielder that could help them stay in a Champions League spot and even try to make a run to the title in this year’s Champions League. Therefore, I do believe Spurs can get this young star in the January window.

#3. Ryan Sessegnon- Fulham

This is another defensive option for Spurs as they are looking for a stronger left back with the date of Toby Alderweireld’s return unknown. A young defender like Sessegnon who is also linked with a move to Real Madrid can be a long-term option. Spurs will have to pay a little more than expected if they are really interested in the 17-year old English defender. Therefore, he will be a good option for depth in the January window.

RyanSess

#4. Yannick Carrasco- Atletico Madrid

The 24-year old winger has so much potential to become a star. He has been through some fallouts this season with team-mates Koke and Gabi which means that he is free to leave Atletico during the January transfer window. The Belgian winger is also linked with a move to Arsenal, Chelsea and Bayern Munich which can make a move to Spurs a lot more expensive. Therefore, Spurs have a slim chance of securing the winger.

#5. Wilfried Zaha- Crystal Palace

Zaha is 25 and is in the best form of his life, but there is still room for improvement if he chooses to go to Spurs to play with world class players like Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen. Also, Crystal Palace are close to relegation and might not want to sell their top goal scorer with still another half of the season to go. Therefore, it is unlikely for him to move in this January window but it is a possibility for a move to Spurs, Arsenal, City or Chelsea over the summer.


Zach Malamud is a contributing writer for Dabuzzza. He is a radio host of The Plainview Blitz on WPOB 88.5 FM. He loves soccer and basketball and finds himself watching Manchester City on a regular basis. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Kevin De Bruyne. You can follow him on twitter at @Zachmalnyy

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January Transfer Targets: Chelsea

By Zach Malamud

Chelsea are 16 points behind league leaders Man City but are just 1 point behind 2nd place Man United. The premier league champions have struggled at some points this season as they have lost in games that most people would say the should’ve won. These games include a 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace who lost their first 7 games before winning this match for their first win of the season and a 1-0 loss to West Ham who was in the relegation zone at the time. With Antonio Conte giving up in the title race, here are some transfer targets that can help Chelsea secure a spot in the Champions League next season:

#1. Yannick Carrasco- Atletico Madrid

The 24-year old winger has so much potential to become a star. He has been through some fallouts this season with team-mates Koke and Gabi which means that he is free to leave Atletico during the January transfer window. The Belgian winger is also linked with a move to Arsenal, Tottenham and Bayern Munich which can make a move to Chelsea a lot more expensive. Therefore, Chelsea have a slim chance of securing the winger

#2. Jean Michaël Seri- Nice

Seri is another target of Antonio Conte and his look for an extra midfielder. The 26-year old midfielder would be a signing for more depth at that spot of the Chelsea squad. The Ivory Coast man can be an option for with Cesc Fabregas getting older. He has also been linked with a move to Liverpool, but with the signing of Virgil Van Dijk it seems that Liverpool are done with their January spending. Therefore, Seri could end up in a Chelsea uniform for the right amount of money.

#3. Arturo Vidal- Bayern Munich

This is a more surprising name to see on Chelsea’s shortlist but with Conte keen to bring his good friend Vidal to the bridge, the deal could end up happening in the January window. The Chilean midfielder is now 30 and has just 18 months left on his contract. With the Bundesliga winners bringing in a lot of young players, they could look to cash in and get around 50 million euros for their top class midfielder.

#4. Gareth Bale- Real Madrid

Challenging Manchester United for the Welshman’s signature, Chelsea are looking for another world-class winger with Eden Hazard on one side. Bale is now 28 and has had experience in the premier league when he played for Tottenham for 6 seasons before being sold to Real Madrid for 101 million euros in 2013. Bale can also help Chelsea in the Champions League where they will have to play La Liga leaders FC Barcelona in the round of 16. Therefore, I see Chelsea beating Man United to a deal for Bale.

Bale

Bale is certainly in the rumors to be on their way out, but is it to Chelsea? (via Goal)

#5. James Tarkowski- Burnley

Tarkowski is having the best season of his career and with Burnley in 7th place, a lot of the credit will go to him. This has gotten Chelsea interested into getting another center back with David Luiz reportedly close to a move to Real Madrid. The English defender would be a huge help and allow them to focus on a Champions League spot. However, I believe that Burnley’s key to success has been their defense coming up big in tough situations so I don’t think they will look to give up their top defender.


Zach Malamud is a contributing writer for Dabuzzza. He is a radio host of The Plainview Blitz on WPOB 88.5 FM. He loves soccer and basketball and finds himself watching Manchester City on a regular basis. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Kevin De Bruyne. You can follow him on twitter at @Zachmalnyy

 

January Transfer Targets: Manchester United

By Zach Malamud

Now down 15 points to their arch rivals Manchester City, United might be more interested in staying in second place to secure a spot in the Champions League for next season. To help secure their spot in the Champions League, United have a couple of names they are looking to bring in during this January window:

#1. Malcom- Bordeaux

At the age of 20, Malcom can be a huge addition to the young wingers that Man United have brought up. Adding a goal scorer can definitely help win more games, especially because he could end up being a bargain due to Bordeaux’s financial problems. Malcom has also been linked with PSG which can make things a bit more challenging for United if the Brazilian winger would like to stay in France. This means United might end up spending a little more than they wanted to.

#2. Antoine Griezmann- Atletico Madrid

Griezmann is 26 and is arguably one of the best strikers in the world. But he might want a move somewhere else now that his team didn’t make it into the Champions League round of 16. Griezmann has been at Atletico since 2014 and just signed a huge contract extension over the summer. Man United are interested in him, therefore I don’t see them getting him in January due to the extension. There is a slight chance that they can get him over the summer though.

Antoine-Griezmann

Griezmann has been linked to United, but will a move happen in January? (via Daily Express)

#3. Danny Rose- Tottenham

The 27-year old defender would be a great fit for a United defense that has struggled this season with injuries to Eric Bailly and Ashley Young having to play at left back. The English defender can be a start of defensive signings for United as they are also in need of a center back which they will probably look at over the summer

#4. Ryan Sessegnon- Fulham

This is another defensive option for Man United as they are in need of a left back. A young defender like Sessegnon who is also linked with a move to Real Madrid can be a long-term option. United will have to pay a little more than expected if they are really interested in the 17-year old English defender. Therefore, he will be a good option in the January window.

#5. Gareth Bale- Real Madrid

With reports that Henrikh Mkhitaryan will leave by the end of the season, United can sign another winger like Gareth Bale. Bale is now 28 and has had experience in the premier league when he played for Tottenham for 6 seasons before being sold to Real Madrid for 101 million euros in 2013. Real Madrid have said that Man United and Chelsea will have to give them around 80 million euros to secure the Welshman. Therefore, buying Bale will slim the chances for United to buy targets Antoine Griezmann and Paulo Dybala.


Zach Malamud is a contributing writer for Dabuzzza. He is a radio host of The Plainview Blitz on WPOB 88.5 FM. He loves soccer and basketball and finds himself watching Manchester City on a regular basis. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Kevin De Bruyne. You can follow him on twitter at @Zachmalnyy

January Transfer Targets: Manchester City

By Zach Malamud

Now 15 points ahead of 2nd place Manchester United, the citizens are rolling through the premier league season dropping points just once in a draw at home against Everton on August 21. But, there is still room for improvement with another half of the season to play. Here are some transfer targets that the citizens can pounce on in the January window to help them secure their 3rd premier league title in the last six years:

#1. Milan Skriniar- Inter

At the age of 22, Skriniar can be a long-term help for Pep Guardiola’s side. City are in need of a center back considering the consistent injury problems of their captain Vincent Kompany. The Slovakian defender just joined Inter in the past summer window which can be a problem for City who might have to spend more than they wanted to.

#2. Iñigo Martínez- Real Sociedad

Martinez is one of Pep’s top targets and at the age of 26, he can also be a help to the in-need defense at Manchester City. The Spanish defender started his career playing for U19 Sociedad before moving to the A team and now could end up being a bargain for City who are valuing him at 7.5 million dollars.

#3. Jonny Evans- West Brom

Evans, who is 29 now is another center back option for Pep’s side to look at. The former Manchester United defender has a lot of experience in the premier league can help city in developing some of their younger center backs including John Stones and Tosin Adarabioyo. He won 3 league titles at Manchester United and can help win one for the blue side of Manchester.

#4. Wilfried Zaha- Crystal Palace

Zaha is 25 and is in the best form of his life, but he might get limited playtime in a filled attack at City. Also, Crystal Palace are close to relegation and might not want to sell their top goal scorer with still another half of the season to go. Therefore, it is unlikely for him to move in this January window but it is a possibility for a move to City, Arsenal, Spurs or Chelsea over the summer.

 

Sanchez

Will Alexis Sanchez finally make his move to Manchester City? (via TalkSport)

#5. Alexis Sanchez- Arsenal

Last summer, a move to the Etihad fell through as Arsenal couldn’t find a replacement like Thomas Lemar to go to the Emirates. An angry Alexis who was coached by Pep at Barcelona, wanted a move and didn’t get it. City and PSG are the two clubs interested in him. If PSG move for Alexis in January it will leave Pep no other choice to start agreeing to a pre contract as City’s attack is full.


Zach Malamud is a contributing writer for Dabuzzza. He is a radio host of The Plainview Blitz on WPOB 88.5 FM. He loves soccer and basketball and finds himself watching Manchester City on a regular basis. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Kevin De Bruyne. You can follow him on twitter at @Zachmalnyy

2017 NBA Mock Draft

By Zach Malamud

In what could be one of the strongest draft classes in NBA history, the night is finally here for the 2017 NBA Draft. With that in mind, here’s a look at my first round mock draft:

1 Philadelphia Markelle Fultz PG Washington
2 LA Lakers Lonzo Ball PG UCLA
3 Boston Malik Monk SG Kentucky
4 Phoenix Josh Jackson SF Kansas
5 Sacramento De’aaron Fox PG Kentucky
6 Orlando Jonathon Isaac SF/PF Florida St
7 Minnesota Lauri Markkanen PF Arizona
8 New York Dennis Smith PG North Carolina St
9 Dallas Frank Ntilikina PG France
10 Sacramento Zach Collins PF/C Gonzaga
11 Charlotte Jayson Tatum SF Duke
12 Detroit Luke Kennard SG Duke
13 Denver OG Anunoby PF Indiana
14 Miami Donovan Mitchell SG Louisville
15 Portland John Collins PF Wake Forest
16 Chicago Bam Adebayo C Kentucky
17 Milwaukee Justin Patton C Creighton
18 Indiana Jarrett Allen C Texas
19 Atlanta TJ Leaf PF UCLA
20 Portland Harry Giles C Duke
21 Oklahoma City Tyler Lydon SF/PF Syracuse
22 Brooklyn Semi Ojeleye SF/PF SMU
23 Toronto DJ Wilson PF Michigan
24 Utah Anzejs Pasecniks C Latvia
25 Orlando Ike Anigbogu C UCLA
26 Portland Derrick White PG/SG Colorado
27 LA Lakers Caleb Swanigan PF/C Purdue
28 LA Lakers Terrance Ferguson SG/SF Australia
29 San Antonio Kyle Kuzma PF Utah
30 Utah Tony Bradley C UNC

 


Zach Malamud is a contributing writer for Dabuzzza. He is a radio host of The Plainview Blitz on WPOB 88.5 FM. He loves soccer and basketball and finds himself watching Manchester City on a regular basis. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Kevin De Bruyne. You can follow him on twitter at @Zachmalnyy

2017 NHL Mock Expansion Draft

By Brett Malamud

The stars will be bright in Las Vegas tonight as the NHL Awards commence. The show will also be significant due to the unveiling of the roster for the league’s newest franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights. Here are my picks for the 31st NHL team.

 

Anaheim Ducks: Clayton Stoner, 24, D

Right off the bat, we start out with a tough selection. It was long rumored that the Ducks may make Jakob Silfverberg available if they chose to protect a fourth defenseman, but that didn’t happen, and Ducks GM Bob Murray opted for the 7-3-1 protection format. Defenseman Sami Vatanen could be one of those candidates to get selected and then flipped to another team. We know that there is a deal in place with Anaheim though, which should take Vatanen out of play. So I’m going to believe that the Ducks will allow Vegas to take Stoner.

 

Arizona Coyotes: Peter Holland, 26, C

While the options aren’t that attractive in the desert, Vegas must take a player from all 30 teams, and Peter Holland is a good depth pick. They could also take the 36-year-old winger Radim Vrbata on a one year deal and try to flip him to a contender later in the year.

 

Boston Bruins: Malcolm Subban, 23, G

If a team like say, the Philadelphia Flyers, wants Vegas to select goaltender Malcolm Subban for them and make a trade, that’s an option. Of course, that’s if Vegas doesn’t want Subban for themselves. I see this as an opportunity for McPhee to select his goalie of the future. Surely Marc-Andre Fleury won’t be there forever (assuming he picks him). I’d also keep an eye on Colin Miller, who I’d consider an extremely underrated talent. An offensive defenseman, Miller has a wicked shot and while his defending could use some more work, he could see himself on the powerplay regularly.

 

Buffalo Sabres: William Carrier, 22, LW

The former second round pick should be the pick here, after moving to the Sabres in the Ryan Miller trade. Being only 22, he’ll get some time to develop in the minors before making the jump up to the NHL full-time.

 

Calgary Flames: Alex Chiasson, 25, RW 

Chiasson is a player who I’ve had my eyes on for the last couple of years. The 6-3 winger also is a restricted free agent, but should be pretty easy to lock down to a deal. Vegas could opt to take defenseman Brett Kulak here instead, but with a ton of defense out there, I’ll opt for Chiasson.

 

Carolina Hurricanes: Lee Stempniak, 34, RW

Not too much talent here. Hurricanes GM Ron Francis did a good job protecting the right guys, and Vegas will probably take Stempniak as the best available player from Carolina.

 

Chicago Blackhawks: Marcus Kruger, 27, C

There is a rumored side deal with the Blackhawks that’ll see them ship Kruger along with defenseman Trevor Van Riemsdyk to Vegas. I believe those rumors to be true, as the Blackhawks are currently the only NHL team over the salary cap and look to free themselves from some larger contracts.

 

Colorado Avalanche: Mikhail Grigorenko, 23, C

Grigorenko is a restricted free agent, so he’d have to agree to a contract, but he’s only 23 years old and has a lot of upside. The popular pick here has been goaltender Calvin Pickard. Pickard played very well in the IIHF World Championships, but based on how I am building this team, Pickard would see himself in the minors, and wouldn’t be a good pick here.

 

Columbus Blue Jackets: William Karlsson, 24, C

The following comes from the Columbus Dispatch: “…the Blue Jackets will pay dearly to dissuade the Golden Knights from taking [Josh] Anderson, [Joonas] Korpisalo or one of the veteran defensemen — Jack Johnson or David Savard — that they would have exposed. The Jackets are believed to be trading this year’s first-round draft pick (No. 24 overall) and a prospect (not Pierre-Luc Dubois or Sonny Milano) to Vegas for assurances that the Golden Knights will select either left wing Matt Calvert, center William Karlsson or defenseman Ryan Murray.”

With that said, I’ll take the former second round pick William Karlsson.

 

Dallas Stars: Cody Eakin, 26, C

For me, Dallas was one of the final picks that I made, and so I’m going on the best player available here, and that’s Eakin for me.

 

Detroit Red Wings: Petr Mrazek, 25, G

I will admit, I was more surprised about this non protected player more than any other in the expansion draft. But Detroit had to make a decision, and they picked the 33-year-old Jimmy Howard over 25-year-old Petr Mrazek in goal. The problem for me with this was that had they left Howard unprotected, Vegas almost definitely wouldn’t have taken him. But with Mrazek there instead, it’s definitey intriguing and there’s going to be some debate in Las Vegas on who they should select. McPhee will have some other strong options in net, with Washington’s Philipp Grubauer, Colorado’s Calvin Pickard and New York’s Antti Raanta all available, as well as Boston’s Malcom Subban for the taking. Vegas won’t load up on goalies unless they have deals in place to flip players to other teams. So while I’d like to see Mrazek be the selection, don’t be shocked if they play it safe and select center Riley Sheahan.

 

Edmonton Oilers: Griffin Reinhart, 23, D

What’s interesting about this pick is the common assumption that McPhee worked with Reinhart, who is an RFA this summer, during his time in New York. Yes, McPhee was a part of the Islanders organization from September 2015 through July 2016 before being hired by Golden Knights owner Bill Foley to run the Vegas franchise. But Reinhart was actually traded in June 2015 during the NHL Draft. But don’t think that he doesn’t know about the young prospect. Yes, Reinhart failed to crack the Isles top six before being shipped off to Edmonton. And yeah, he’s had a minimal impact in Edmonton. I’d take one last shot on him if I were Vegas.

 

Florida Panthers: Jonathan Marchessault, 26, C

The Panthers left Marchessault unprotected just after he scored 30 goals this season. Vegas should also like the fact that he is making less than $1 million for the upcoming year, and is just 26 years old.

 

Los Angeles Kings: Brayden McNabb, 26, D

At 6-5, McNabb would be a good pick for Vegas and at just 26 years old, I could see him as a player they’d like to keep on their blue line for years to come.

 

Minnesota Wild: Eric Staal, 32, C

While many were quick to put defensemen Matt Dumba in this spot, there must be some debate over this pick with the Vegas brass.  Dumba is a good prospect, and am attractive option. But I see this expansion draft deeper on defense than scoring forwards, and so Staal makes sense. Staal was Minnesota’s top goal scorer this season and could find himself as Vegas’ first team captain, after serving the role in Carolina. It’s widely thought that Minnesota will have a trade in place to have Vegas lay off Dumba/Scandella/Staal and take a player such as Erik Haula. But I honestly think that taking a player such as Staal or Dumba would be more valuable than a draft pick (remember, the Wild traded their first round pick for this season. However they do have picks for the coming years, so keep an eye on that) to take Haula. With that said, I’m taking Staal here as the more marketable asset, and if he is picked, Vegas fans will find themselves sporting his jersey on opening night.

(UPDATE: There are reports out there that Haula will sign a multi year deal with Vegas, so expect that to be the pick tonight)

 

Montreal Canadiens: Brandon Davidson, 25, D

If the Knights can agree to a deal with UFA Alex Radulov, then they should take the chance on him as he’ll provide an impact, and will take on some salary. Of course, that could come on July 1, and not picking him here could allow Vegas to take two players from the Habs. I believe that their selection here will be Davidson, who represents the youngest Montreal defenseman under contract through next season.

 

Nashville Predators: James Neal, 29, LW

If George McPhee has a deal in place with the defending western conference champions, it probably take Neal off the table, and I see Colton Scissons as a possible second choice. But I believe that Vegas sees Neal as a potential threat on their first line. After all, this is a team who have repeatedly said that they want to be good right away, while stocking up for the future at the same time. Neal would fit into that equation, even with his $5 million cap hit.

 

New Jersey Devils: Jon Merrill, 25, D

Another young defenseman for Vegas with Merrill being picked here. The Devils don’t want to lose a guy like Merrill, but it doesn’t seem likely that a side deal will be made.

 

New York Islanders: Casey Cizikas, 26, C

Newsday’s Arthur Staple reported Monday evening that the Islanders have a deal in place with Vegas to send a first round pick and Mikhail Grabovski ($5 million cap hit) to the Golden Knights, in exchange for selecting a designated player chosen by the Isles. I believe that the player is Casey CIzikas, who holds a $3.35 million cap hit. In a move that would free up $8.35 million, the Islanders would create the cap space necessary to go after coveted trade assets such as Matt Duchene, Jordan Eberle, and Alex Galchenyuk. They could always opt to give Vegas defenseman Thomas Hickey ($2.2 million cap hit), but if the Islanders trade defensemen Calvin De Haan, Ryan Pulock, or Travis Hamonic in a trade for a top six forward (or possibly two trades), I’d bet the Islanders would want Hickey at least on their roster. I’m going to stick with my gut and go with Cizikas.

 

New York Rangers: Michael Grabner, 29, RW

Coming off of a career year, Grabner could give the Golden Knights some help up front. This pick could end up being goaltender Antti Raanta, who has proven that he could be a number one goaltender in the NHL. I expect him to factor into the goaltender conversation for the Golden Knights if they pick him instead, or if he’s not flipped to another team first. I’ll take Grabner here though, based on the goalies I’ve already selected.

 

Ottawa Senators: Marc Methot, 31, D

According to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, Ottawa could not get a deal done before George McPhee’s self imposed midnight trade deadline on Monday. Therefore, I believe that McPhee is taking Methot. Of course, there is interest in Methot, but one of the important statements from McPhee came Monday morning when discussing flipping a player to another team, where he said that if they like the player, they’re keeping him for themselves. I believe that Methot may have been one of those players that he was talking about.

 

Philadelphia Flyers: Jordan Weal, 25, C

Weak would be a good addition as Vegas seeks more young forwards. Wouldn’t be surprised if Michael Raffl is the pick here either.

 

Pittsburgh Penguins: Marc-Andre Fleury, 32, G

Fleury is the slam dunk, home run pick for Las Vegas, and is sure to be their starting goaltender come opening night, and the first face of the franchise. It also looks that they’d be getting something from Pittsburgh to take Fleury, so not much to debate here.

Fleury

Three time Stanley Cup Champion Marc-Andre Fleury appears to be Vegas Bound. (Via PPG)

 

San Jose Sharks: Brendan Dillon, 26, D

Dillon would be a good pick in this spot, being just 26, and carrying a manageable 3.27 million cap hit.

 

St. Louis Blues: David Perron, 29, RW

I see this as a deadline deal for Vegas, with them flipping Perron for more picks. He could get flipped right away though.

 

Tampa Bay Lightning: Jason Garrison, 32, D

GM Steve Yzerman is looking for a way to hold on to young defensemen Slater Koekkoek and Jake Dotchin. Therefore I am projecting a side deal here with Garrison being the pick for Vegas.

 

Toronto Maple Leafs: Kerby Rychel, 22, LW

Rychel is a good pick for Vegas here because of the upside he has. He could factor as a possible trade chip in the future if it doesn’t work out in Sin City.

 

Vancouver Canucks: Reid Boucher, 23, LW

Boucher flipped around the league this season with New Jersey, Nashville, and Vancouver earlier this season after being claimed on waivers. He has a lot of upside, and so this pick will be more about potential than anything.

 

Washington Capitals: Nate Schmidt, 25, D

McPhee could take Philipp Grubauer. McPhee could take Jay Beagle or Brett Connolly. He could even take Kevin Shattenkirk if he can get him to agree to a contract during the exclusive negotiations window. But I have the Capitals going in a different direction and selecting Nate Schmidt, who is one of the best young defensemen available to the Golden Knights. The situation in Washington is interesting because Schmidt got pushed out of the lineup when the Caps traded for Shattenkirk. But Schmidt reminds me of another quick skating defenseman that came up through the system, and made the team. That was John Carlson, and if I’m George McPhee, I’d want that on my team’s blue line.

 

Winnipeg Jets: Toby Enstrom, 32, D

I believe that Toby Enstrom is a candidate for the pick-and-flip for Vegas. With so many teams looking to get a top four defenseman, Vegas could hold the cards, and look to flip him for picks, or for a player that was protected for the expansion draft.

 

 

With this team that I’ve selected, there are sure to be some trades in place before July 1, as the team with this roster will have to sign some of these players to RFA deals while staying away from the cap. McPhee has said that he sees his team in the fifties when discussing team salary. It should be interesting to see what he has up his sleeve.


Brett Malamud is a graduate of Binghamton University. He is the co-founder of dabuzzza.com. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Todd Bertuzzi. You can follow him on twitter at @brettnyy

With The Trade Deadline Looming, Are The Knicks Looking To Unload?

By Brett Malamud

When Knicks Owner Jim Dolan brought in Phil Jackson to be the President of Basketball Operations, Dolan expected Jackson to do two things:

A) Take the pressure of being a New York team off of Owner Jim Dolan

B) Attract marquee free agents to New York

Last June, Jackson attempted to do both, and the Knicks acquired three-time NBA All Star and 2011 NBA Most Valuable Player Derrick Rose from the Chicago Bulls for Jose Calderon, Jerian Grant, and Robin Lopez. The Knicks also received guard Justin Holiday and a 2017 2nd round pick in the deal. To take the words of former Knick Amare Stoudemire, the Knicks were back. At the time, the thought was that the deal would turn the Knicks into a new era, and all would be well in the Big Apple.

By trading for Derrick Rose, Jackson took a flier on a former MVP and a former number one overall pick. If it didn’t work out, that would be ok too, as Rose’s $21 million salary comes off of the books at the end of the 2016-17 season. At the time, the Knicks decided that if Rose isn’t worth the headaches, they can just let him walk at the end of the 2016-17 season, and go chase a marquee free agent player. That said, the Knicks set themselves up to have over $60 million in cap space for the summer of 2017, where player of the like of Blake Griffin, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, Paul Millsap, Gordon Hayward, Greg Monroe, Rudy Gay, Andrew Bogut, Jrue Holiday, Danilo Gallinari, Andre Iguodala, J.J. Redick, Taj Gibson and George Hill would all be available. Or so they thought.

After all, the move created an attractive place for summer 2016 free agents, and Kevin Durant would be sure to look at the Knicks a little harder than he would have the week before. Players like Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, and Joakim Noah, who were all linked to the Knicks after the trade was made, were being mentioned as plan-B options if they didn’t get Durant.

Fast-forward a week, and they didn’t. Instead, Durant joined the Warriors, and the Knicks came away with two-time NBA All Star and former Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah, on a four year, $72 million contract. Suddenly, a pipe dream was gone. The Knicks were giving $72 million to a player coming off major shoulder surgery, and whose numbers declined in almost every category each season since he was named the Defensive Player of the Year in 2014.

Fast-forward eight months, and that’s a contract that the Knicks wish they never handed out. In fact, it was totally unnecessary, because the big-man that they wanted was already on the roster. That was 22-year-old rookie Willy Hernangomez, who has averaged 11.0 points and 9.4 rebounds in the month of February, all well Noah tweaked his hamstring just five games before the All-Star break.

The Knicks find themselves without that $70 million in cap space for this summer, but rather anywhere from $20-25 million. Yikes. Yes, the Knicks still have their first round pick for this season, but with Russell Westbrook off the market, and reports that Chris Paul will stay in Los Angeles for north of $200 million, the point guard market is slim pickings. Sure the Knicks could always re-up with Derrick Rose, but do they really want to spend most of their remaining cap space on Rose? Rose apparently is seeking a max contract this summer, and after multiple knee injuries, paying him a max deal wouldn’t be a wise investment. Instead, the Knicks should seek a trade, so at least they can get something for Rose. One proposed deal sees Rose being shipped to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Ricky Rubio. The move is intriguing from both sides. For Minnesota, the Tom Thibodeau-Derrick Rose reunion could work, as Rose attempts to rekindle his career in the hopes of landing that max-deal that he desires. If Rose leaves at the end of the year, Minnesota has rookie point guard Kris Dunn waiting in the wings. On the other side, the Knicks would get a solid player in Rubio, and wouldn’t lose Rose for nothing, The 26-year-old Rubio is also under contract for the next two and a half years, averaging a reasonable $14 million. Yes, the deal would take the Knicks out of the running for a marquee free agent in the summer of 2017, barring an extremely unlikely major cap dump. Normally the Knicks wouldn’t sign up for being out of the running (See Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, and of course LeBron James) before the sweepstakes begins. But the timing is right and Rubio would be a good young piece to place with Hernangomez and Kristaps Porzingis.

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Both Derrick Rose and Carmelo Anthony could be on their way out of New York at the trade deadline (Via CHI Tribune)

But then we come to the bigger issue at hand:

The Melo Conundrum. 

Yes, Carmelo Anthony has been shopped around by Phil Jackson. That much is confirmed. The Cavaliers, Clippers, Celtics, and Lakers are rumored destinations but it all hinges on Anthony waiving his no-trade clause, and at this rate, Melo has been stating his desire to stay in New York. But let’s explore the scenario for a bit, as Anthony is hungry for a championship, and clearly won’t get that scenario in the near future with the Knicks. The only realistic piece that would change the culture of the Knicks by trading Carmelo Anthony (if actually trading him at all) is Blake Griffin (sorry Austin Rivers fans). Of course, the Knicks would have to trade Rose first, because of the CBA rule stating that two players under a certain rookie contract extension can’t be paired on the same roster. That said, the Clippers are holding on to the hopes that Griffin stays with the team and does not view the Clippers as an aging team with a window closing fast. A fresh start with the new look Ricky Rubio Knicks on a max deal sign and trade wouldn’t be the worst thing for the soon to be 28-year-old Griffin, and as for Carmelo, he’d get a shot to go for a title with his good friend Chris Paul. The pipe dream reopens for Knicks fans, and the Knicks are back.

But it’s not looking as if Carmelo will be traded, and the idea remains—yes—a pipe dream. It’s still worth returning to the reason why all of this is happening: Phil Jackson. With a series of cryptic tweets bashing the team’s superstar, Anthony, the Knicks are quickly becoming a toxic wasteland, and as a result, the pressure is on owner Jim Dolan again. Jackson may have to make a few moves before Thursday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline to save the Knicks ship from sinking, or it could be his job on the line.


Brett Malamud is a graduate of Binghamton University. He is the co-founder of dabuzzza.com. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Todd Bertuzzi. You can follow him on twitter at @brettnyy