Hey! Have you heard the New York Knicks are a thermonuclear basketball disaster whose inability to execute even the most rudimentary end-of-game plays resulted in more losses than could be overcome and thus a failure to make the playoffs in the weakest conference in the history of the NBA?
Have you also heard they have no recourse for said failure, owing to having traded their 2014 draft pick to the Denver Nuggets in order to obtain Carmelo Anthony, who may be leaving the team for greener, fallout-free pastures this summer?
I'd go on, but my unborn children are crying.
But, but! That doesn’t mean there isn’t a silver lining. It just so happens to border the most expensive piece of paper in the history of the universe.
'On paper we might be the best team in the league.' Amar'e Stoudemire w/ a straight face— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) April 13, 2014
I really want to tell myself Amar’e Stoudemire was speaking a different language that was merely mistaken for English. That elven tongue from Lord of the Rings, for instance.
…Nope, apparently that was English, and apparently Amar’e was serious.
Might be the best team in the league. Yes. I see how this game is played. We're all the same stardust and stuff. I might be Wayne Newton's blow-dryer.
The best team in the league. The best team at what, exactly? Sock shopping? Geocaching? Marbles? Because I’m pretty sure it’s not basketball.
Look, we understand what STAT’s going for here: His team was just officially eliminated from playoff contention, it has a big game against the Chicago Bulls Sunday night, and he wants to inject some strand of optimism into an otherwise funk-ridden franchise.
That doesn’t mean it isn’t the dumbest thing we’ve heard all day.
Luckily for Stoudemire, he’ll have at least one more year to back up the Looney Tunes talk: With approximately $91 million committed in 2014-15 salaries, these Knicks—'Melo (assuming he comes back, in which case it could be more), STAT, Andrea Bargnani, Tyson Chandler, J.R. Smith and the rest—aren’t going anywhere, barring some miracle offseason wizardry from the team’s new president of basketball operations, Phil Jackson.
In a recent article, The New York Times’ Scott Cacciola emphasized just how tough a task Jackson has ahead of him—financially as well as philosophically:
The unfortunate corollary to the current challenge — the Knicks not being very good — is that the team could look similar next season. Eight players are under contract for 2014-15, including Amar’e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler and Andrea Bargnani, who will earn a combined $50 million. Their contracts alone will put the Knicks against the salary cap, which was $58.7 million this season. Loose translation: Jackson could be one of the sharpest basketball minds of his generation or any other, but he will not have the financial flexibility to comb the free-agent market until 2015, when the contracts of Stoudemire, Chandler and Bargnani come off the books.
With two more wholly meaningless games between them and a long, long summer, the Knicks need something, anything on which to hang their collective hat.
But when the hat is a 13th century iron war helmet and the hanger is a rotted tree branch, it just doesn't work, STAT. That’s all.