Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
February 23, 2006
BASKETBALL: The Square Peg Collection

The Knicks' acquisition of Steve Francis in exchange for senior citizen Penny Hardaway and Trevor Ariza is obviously a steal on a pure talent basis, which only makes it more likely that Isiah Thomas is doing this to set up Larry Brown as the fall guy, by giving him talented players who can't possibly fit together. Isiah is probably thinking that Marbury and Francis could whup Isiah and Dumars in their primes in 2-on-2, which they probably could; unfortunately, the NBA is not a 2-on-2 game.

UPDATE: Bill Simmons nails this in a satirical column that's just comedy gold, especially the McHale-Isiah exchanges. An excerpt:

Layden: . . . Logically, it makes no sense because Francis and Marbury are the same player -- expensive, shoot-first point guards with huge entourages and attitude problems who have never won anything. Even if you're getting Francis for nothing, it still makes no sense on paper.

For example, let's say you spent $3,000 on a living room sofa two years ago that you didn't really like. To make the sofa stand out a little less, you bought a leather chair for $2,200 that doesn't match --.

Simmons: Marbury is the sofa and Jamal Crawford is the chair in this case?

Layden: Precisely. And the room still looks bad. So now, you're on Craigslist and you see that someone is selling another $3,000 sofa for $900 that's almost exactly like the sofa you have. And there's no way you would ever want two big, ugly sofas in the same room. It would just look ridiculous. But your mind-set is, "Hey, how can I turn down a $3,000 sofa for $900?" So you buy the sofa and stick it in the room, which is now cluttered with stuff since you also spent another $10,000 on some crummy art, a coffee table with support problems, two giant bookcases that have to be turned sideways, some wobbly end tables and a smashed sculpture that was patched back together with duct tape. But since it's too late to go back, you spend another $5,000 on an interior decorator to make the room work. Well, you know what would happen? He wouldn't be able to make it work. You bought too much crap.

See, this is why Isiah is a genius: He's assembling the basketball version of that nightmare living room, and he has the fans convinced that either the expensive interior decorator -- in this case, Larry Brown -- will be able to make everything work, or he can somehow swap some of that furniture to one of his neighbors for a first-class piece of art. And he's spending an ungodly amount of money! And you never hear rumors that he might get fired! I think it's a tribute to him and his staff. He's the best-ever at being an atrocious GM. He really is.

Thomas: Thank you, Scott, that means a lot.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:30 AM | Basketball | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

Isiah and Dumars could play together because Dumars was an unselfish player, and Isiah was a great one. Francis and Marbury are two players with Isiah's ego, but without his level of ability. I can't imagine how that could possibly end well.

Posted by: Jerry at February 23, 2006 10:08 AM

Also, while Isiah had a huge ego, his style of play was unselfish, particularly by the time the Pistons were winning championships. I'm sure if you looked at his ratio of assists to shot attempts it was far higher than Marbury's.

Posted by: The Crank at February 23, 2006 10:10 AM

According to SAS, Larry Brown is the one who pushed for Francis AND Jalen Rose. There's no way Isiah is bringing in guys Larry doesn't want at this point - Larry's contract gives him more job security (and therefore more power in the organization) than Isiah right now.

Posted by: Joe Blo at February 23, 2006 11:00 AM

It doesn't matter to me whether Brown wanted these guys or not. The way he left Detroit—he deserves every bit of misery this team brings him...

Posted by: Mr Furious at February 24, 2006 2:07 PM

When you hire Larry Brown, you pretty much sign on for the fact that the relationship won't be a long one and will end badly.

Posted by: The Crank at February 24, 2006 2:22 PM


Signing Larry Brown as coach is definitely the GM's equivalent of dating the model/actress with the long line of broken hearts and weird stories behind her.

I think he's the Winona Ryder of the NBA. Just ask Johnny Depp . . . and the Saks Fifth Avenue Security guard. The ask Joe Dumars and compare notes.

Posted by: Mike at February 24, 2006 6:50 PM


Posted by: Mike at February 24, 2006 7:11 PM

And Hardaway was put on waivers the moment he hit Florida.

Suddenly I feel better about the Hornets' chances the rest of the season: all of their trades seem sane.

Posted by: CGHill at February 25, 2006 9:22 AM
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