Shame On 'Ew': Knicks Cut Ewing Jr.

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Shame On 'Ew': Knicks Cut Ewing Jr.

10/27/08

The Knicks management, regardless of who is running the show, never ceases to amaze when it comes to their seemingly mindless decision making.

The team announced this afternoon that it was cutting Patrick Ewing Jr., in favor of keeping Anthony Roberson and Jerome James on the roster.

Ewing, a clear fan favorite and the son of the team's greatest player, brought back some memories from better days Friday night during the final preseason game of the year, throwing down two dunks and hitting a three, while drawing chants of Pa-trick Ew-ing from the crowd, just as his father had some years before.

The move to cut Ewing just doesn't make sense for a number of reasons, starting with the fact he fits so perfectly into the type of game head coach Mike D'Antoni is looking to run.

His offensive game is still raw, but the energy he brings and the passion he would have played with wearing a Knicks uniform is something the team still lacks, and would have been a big boost to a fan base craving the feelings of better days from the past.

Donnie Walsh, for all the good vibes he's brought since replacing Isiah Thomas, dropped the ball on this move.

The popular choice among the fans when it came to the roster spot Ewing would have taken was that of Jerome James, the oft-injured center who didn't see the court at all during the pre-season, and appeared in only two games all of last season.

Among the worst signings in the history of professional sports, James' 5 year, 30 million contract was likely the only reason he remains a Knick while Ewing doesn't, as James is still owed more than 12 million dollars.

My argument here is simple: If James would be getting that money regardless of how much he actually sees the court (if it all), than why not cut him, give him his money, and allow Ewing to fill his spot and at least make something of it, based on the fact that James has virtually no role in D'Antoni's offense while Ewing certainly would push himself into one.

Instead, James will continue to rot away on the bench, earning his money while Ewing could potentially be scooped up by another team, developed and reach his promise wearing a different uniform.

There is also the public relations aspect of all of this. 

I would never encourage the retention of a player based solely on his name, however if ever there was ever an exception to my thinking, this would be it.

The Knicks are in desperate need of some good karma, having put their fans through year after year of dismal play. The team has not only been prolific at losing during the last decade, but they have done so without any real passion and have been nothing short of unwatchable since the start of the twenty first century.

And here it was, a chance to not only appease their fan base, but also stir up some of the ghosts of Madison Square Garden by including a guy by the name of Patrick Ewing on a team that needs all the positive press it can obtain as it still suffers from the setbacks it's suffered since Isiah Thomas was made part of the franchise five years ago.

Yet another factor here which just has shameless written all over it is the continued disrespect shown for big Patrick himself.

Repeatedly ignored for a coaching position, the Knicks could have been somewhat vindicated by giving Jr. a chance to live his father's dream. 

The kid grew up in the Knicks locker room, and has made it clear he wasn't intimidated by the prospect of wearing the same uniform of his legendary father, and actually seemed to embrace the challenge.

Aside from everything else, the sad thing is the kid was exactly the type of player this team could have used.  They traded away the closest thing to him in Renaldo Balkman, who made up for a lack of offensive skill with tenacity, toughness and all out hustle.

Given a chance to get any sort of minutes, Ewing would have made the most of them, running end to end providing any sort of spark the team needed, while also ignited a dormant fan base.

For a team looking to shed the negative image it's been plagued with, missed out on an opportunity to take a big step forward with some blood from it's past.

Instead, the only familiar face on the Knicks bench fans will have the pleasure seeing is that of Jerome James, who'll likely never leave it.

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