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:
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.