By Jim Brighters, NBA Editor, The Sports Network
(SportsNetwork.com) – The Knicks acquired Amundson, Kirk and a 2019 second-round pick from the Cavs, and forward Lance Thomas from the Thunder. They gave up Shumpert and Smith.
This is a 100 percent salary dump and addition by subtraction-type trade. They have waived the three players already.
In jettisoning themselves of Smith, the Knicks shed his option for next season, freeing up $6.4 million. The Knicks were going to pay luxury tax, but this trade means Mr. Dolan will pay substantially less of it.
Plus, they rid themselves of Smith, the person. He may not be a bad guy, but he’s a goofball who does things that hurt the team, be it untying an opponent’s sneakers or smoking weed. Smith has talent and he’s almost as important as Carmelo Anthony was to the Atlantic Division championship team of two seasons ago.
But, he’s not worth the aggravation. He’s just not and coupled with his salary hamstrings, Phil Jackson should get a lot of credit for getting Smith out of New York. I wasn’t sure it could be done.
And trading Smith, and releasing Samuel Dalembert as reports indicate, show Jackson’s most important moves to date — Jackson is shedding this organization of all problem people:
Tyson Chandler – Dallas Maverick (Although I never believed he was a problem.)
Raymond Felton – Dallas Maverick
Smith – Cleveland Cavalier
Dalembert – who cares?
In less than a year, Jackson rid his team of problems financially and personality-wise. He got nothing for Shumpert, which hurts because the Knicks probably could’ve had Kenneth Faried for him a year ago, but the Knicks didn’t care about Shumpert. If they did, they’d have offered him a contract extension.
This trade frees up time for Tim Hardaway, Jr. and Cleanthony Early, who I loved in the second round, but hasn’t found much time. Develop youth.
Also, let’s be honest about the Knicks. Season’s over. Melo is going to shut it down soon. (Predicted at the office it would have been Monday. Settled for a big trade.) The Knicks’ lottery status keeps improving. That’s fine for them at the moment.
Plus, expectations, however preposterously over-inflated they might have been in Knicks’ world, are shut down. That’ll help head coach Derek Fisher, who has appeared a little over his head. There’s almost no pressure on Fisher now, which is good considering his performance to date has elicited “Fire Fisher” chants from Woody Allen, Taylor Swift and everyone in the Garden.
Jackson will take about $30 million in cap space to the sweltering heat of a New York summer. He’ll be in the best position to try and lure Marc Gasol, Rajon Rondo, LaMarcus Aldridge, or Kevin Love. That’s assuming those last two don’t go through with the formality of re-signing.
That’s very impressive work by the Zen Master.