Linkin' Center: News on Amar'e, Toney Douglas & More

Since we talked about new Knick backup center Timofey Mozgov’s performance at the FIBA World Championship, here’s some video of the man in action:

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We’ve also talked Eastern Conference Playoff Picture (the Western Conference preview will likely be up tomorrow or Tuesday), and though we predicted the Knicks would likely make it, we didn’t really go into them at all. Well, here on CBSSports.com are Matt Moore’s thoughts as to whether our boys’ll make the big dance:

The Knicks are brand new. Fresh out the oven, piping hot, clean waxed, new car smell, brand spankin’ new. And that’s certainly a good thing as all but the last remnants of the epic failboat that was built there over the last decade have been cleansed and a new team stand in its place, faster, younger, and better built to contend. [...]  The questions are, first, is this team good enough to make the playoffs, and two, is there room in the playoffs for them?

It’s a good read, but my one quibble is with his assumption that the Bobcats are a lock to make the playoffs.

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Great news!  Amar’e Stoudemire’s been working out as hard as ever!  Odd news?  He recently did it at the Phoenix Sun’s facility.  The Arizona Republic reports:

Wednesday was like any early September day at US Airways Center the past eight years.

Always an early-summer arrival, Amar’e Stoudemire was working out in the training room, playing informal games with some Suns and leaving last after a rigorous individual session.

Even though he wore Suns shorts, he was just visiting an old home now that he’s a member of the New York Knicks. It is a common open-door policy for NBA players to work out in opposing arenas, but Stoudemire did not expect to find a game to join, and he needed to borrow shorts.

During a summer where LeBron James and Chris Bosh have been bashed by their previous team’s management, it’s nice to hear things are still good between Amar’e and his former employers, particularly owner Robert Sarver who wouldn’t budge on his contract offer:

[Stoudemire] has no hard feelings about his departure.

Managing Partner Robert Sarver offered him a five-year, $96.6 million contract with $56 million guaranteed and the rest kicking in [only] if Stoudemire logged significant minutes in the third and fourth years.

“It was fair from Robert’s standpoint,” Stoudemire said. “I understand his concerns, which were injuries and health. There are no hard feelings at all. From a security standpoint for myself and with as much work as I put in on the court, I was after a greater goal. It was a fair offer from his standpoint. We still talk and have a good friendship.

See?  We all can get along.  Kumbaya, yo.

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The New York Post has this info on/from Toney Douglas which gets me pretty pumped about his prospects for the upcoming season, as well as the team as a whole:

Douglas, the Knicks’ backup point guard, said he thinks his team is going to break its six-year playoff drought.

“Definitely,” Douglas told The Post yesterday at Hayground School in Bridgehampton. “I feel like we have a lot of talent. We just all have to be on one page and make sure everybody is totally on it. I feel we are a playoff team.”

The coaching staff will tell you nobody has worked harder than Douglas this offseason. The second-year Florida State product has done two-a-days at their Westchester compound since the beginning of May — save for a two-week break in July.

Douglas, the Knicks’ most tenacious defender, said one of the reasons he has worked so hard is he wants to be a leader this season. There were none during last season’s 29-53 campaign.

“I had an OK rookie year, but this year I want to be more vocal and be one of the leaders on the court,” Douglas said. “At the same time, you can’t be a leader if you don’t hold up your end of the bargain. If people are slacking, I’ll tell them. If I’m slacking, I want them to tell me.”

Douglas is now working out with Danilo Gallinari, who spent almost all of the offseason in Italy, Wilson Chandler, Amar’e Stoudemire, Anthony Randolph and Rony Turiaf.

[...]  After Labor Day, Douglas said he expects to be joined by more teammates so they can begin scrimmaging.

“We’re just building relationships now,” Douglas said. “It’s almost a totally new team. I’ve been working on the pick and roll with Amar’e. So there’ll be a better bond when training camp starts.”

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For those who haven’t heard, multiple sources have talked about how the Knicks might go for an incredibly big line-up that’d feature 6’10” Amar’e at power forward, 6’11” Anthony Randolph at small forward and 6’10” Danilo Gallinari at shooting guard.  Most likely that would leave Ronny Turiaf opening at center, but there’s a chance it could be Mozgov instead.  At first glance the big question/concern seems to be whether Gallo has the quickness to cover shooting guards.  However, remember last year after Jared Jeffries was traded, it was Gallo who usually asked to cover the opposing team’s top perimeter player, sometimes even defending little point guards.  He was no huge stopper, but the point is he’s comfortable doing it, and more importantly has wanted to do it.  And the mismatches it could create on offense… it’d be like manna from Heaven.

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Okay, one non-Knick item.  Check out this contest to vote for the best non-NBA dunkers.  The winners will compete at this year’s NBA All-Star contest in the City Of Angels.

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Brian Kronen on Knickerblogger has a great post on this bit of Unsung Knick History.

Today we look at an amazing 1995 game between the New York Knicks and the San Antonio Spurs (a season after David Robinson was voted the NBA’s Most Valuable Player) where the Knicks defeated the Spurs in double overtime with a line-up of Herb Williams and four guards!

Check it out in full, it’s a fun read even if you’re a young un’ who wasn’t watching the Knicks back then.

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I’ve been meaning to link to this for like literally half a year.  This guy has created a fantastic site that shows through flow charts how every player was acquired for every team.  Here’s the Knicks page.  It’s gotten even bigger than before so it now may seem a bit overwhelming, but it’s worth glancing at.  The most painful part?  That in order to do the sign-and-trade for Eddy Curry, we traded away two first-round draft picks that would end up being LaMarcus Aldridge (#2 overall) and Joakim Noah(#9).  Sure, there’s no guarantee we would’ve picked those exact guys.  Like maybe instead of Aldridge we would’ve gone for, say, Rudy Gay or Brandon Roy.  Also, remember, the Bulls did not want to offer Curry a contract due to concerns over his heart condition, meaning they had no leg to bargain, yet still we forked over that bounty.  And people say Isiah Thomas was a bad GM? No way.

He was an awful one.

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Lastly, need further proof Amar’e is a Jew.  Here he is yet again in a yarmulke.  Wait, whadaya mean yarmulke’s don’t usually have ears?  Well, at least it looks like in addition to spending his summer learning about Judaism, he’s also learned how to make one sweet dessert treat.  Hail to the Mouse!

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Tags: Amare Stoudemire Anthony Randolph Danilo Gallinari Eddy Curry Herb Williams Timofey Mozgov Toney Douglas

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