Blog Entry

Warkentien could bolster Knicks' Melo chances

Posted on: January 30, 2011 10:51 pm
Revenge, as they say, is sweet. 

Back in August, Nuggets GM Mark Warkentien thought he was going to continue negotiating the two most important contract extensions in the organization's history -- those of Carmelo Anthony and coach George Karl. The fact that Warkentien had been ostracized in the very organization he'd positioned for a run to the Western Conference finals a little more than a year earlier, though, amounted to the writing on the wall. 

Warkentien, the 2009 NBA executive of the year, was let go along with fellow front-office type Rex Chapman in a complete purge of the Nuggets' management team. This was after Warkentien had been insulted with an offer to take a roughly 50 percent pay cut -- with some of the difference possibly to be made up through incentive clauses. (And maybe some Wal-Mart coupons.) 

Within weeks of owner Stan Kroenke's decision to turn the organization over to his son, Josh, and former Raptors executive Masai Ujiri, Anthony's camp began informing the team that he would not be signing a three-year, $65 million extension and wanted a trade. Nuggets advisor Brett Bearup subsequently was let go, and the Nuggets believed they had made a fresh start in their efforts to make the best of the Anthony situation. 

Only one problem: Warkentien, who knows where all the bodies are buried in Denver and has a strong relationship with Anthony, is about to be employed by the enemy. A person close to Warkentien confirmed a report Sunday night by Yahoo! Sports that the Knicks intend to hire Warkentien as a high-level consultant. The move, which has yet to be finalized, represents the first step in Knicks president Donnie Walsh's long-time efforts to hire a right-hand man. In the past, he had considered Warkentien, former Warriors executive Chris Mullin, and former Trail Blazers GM Kevin Pritchard, while coach Mike D'Antoni had some other candidates in mind. 

After Garden chairman James Dolan's clumsy attempt at hiring former coach and president Isiah Thomas was thoroughly repudiated by Walsh, the decision to go with Warkentien is the strongest sign yet that Walsh -- whose fingerprints are all over the Knicks' revival -- will chart the course for the long-term future of the franchise, too. 

Walsh's contract has a team option that must be picked up by April 1. While the addition of Warkentien as a consultant is viewed by those close to the situation as a prelude to an expanded and more permanent role, sources also say that not only is Walsh's option expected to be picked up, but his contract may be extended as well. Though Walsh has made no noise about wanting the extension, he has expressed to confidants a strong desire to see the Knicks' rebuilding through after overcoming a series of health issues in recent months. After returning to Madison Square Garden recently after undergoing hip replacement surgery, Walsh has been described by friends as especially enthusiastic and strong-willed about completing the massive restoration project. 

So while the addition of Warkentien, a shrewd negotiator with a reputation as a relentless scout, bodes well for a Walsh-driven front-office structure going forward, the natural question is as follows: What does this mean for the Knicks' pursuit of Anthony? On one hand, teaming Warkentien with Walsh on the Denver trade negotiations would make it a decidedly unfair fight -- combining Walsh's experience with Warkentien's direct knowledge of the Denver power structure and Stan Kroenke's tendencies and psychology when it comes to deal-making. Sources say that Warkentien long ago zeroed in on Kroenke's negotiating weakness in any Anthony trade: his obsessive pursuit of cost-cutting. As Warkentien learned in a negotiating class he recently took at Harvard, the best way to win a negotiation is to know what the opponent wants and where his weaknesses are. 

But it is difficult to predict how Kroenke, who is still ultimately calling the shots behind the curtain while his son and Ujiri handle the day-to-day business, will respond to the Knicks' hiring of Warkentien. It is possible, according to one source who understands Denver's still complicated organization dynamics, that Kroenke would stubbornly recoil from any talks with the Knicks and refuse to give Anthony his wish -- or give Warkentien the satisfaction. Also possible, the source noted, is that Kroenke would redouble efforts to once again engage the Nets in trade talks as a far more palatable option than dealing with Warkentien. Another person with direct knowledge of the Nuggets' trade discussions has told on multiple occasions recently that the Anthony talks have not evolved since the Nets dropped out last week. One reason may have been the Knicks' impending hiring of Warkentien, which sources say leaked to some members of Denver's basketball operations. 

One way or another, it would appear that Warkentien will play a prominent role in the Knicks' pursuit of Anthony -- via a trade or as a free agent. Warkentien is believed to be on board with the notion that Anthony wouldn't lose nearly as much money as some pundits think if he were to play out the season and become a free agent under a new collective bargaining agreement. Estimates showing that Anthony would lose $40 million in such a scenario are nothing short of irresponsible. 

Imagine the irony, though, if Warkentien ultimately winds up signing Anthony to a contract with the Knicks -- a contract he thought he'd be finalizing with the Nuggets last August. The plot, as they say, thickens.

Since: May 26, 2009
Posted on: February 1, 2011 12:19 am

Warkentien could bolster Knicks' Melo chances

If I were Melo, I would just sign with the Nets as a free agent!  We would not give up any of our young assets or future draft picks and still have our young core.  Starters: Devin, (sg - free agent or draft pick), Anthony, Favors and Brook.   Awesome bench:  Farmar, Morrow, Sasha, Outlaw, Humphries and Petro.  We would be right there with the top teams. 

Since: Feb 19, 2007
Posted on: January 31, 2011 11:44 pm

Warkentien could bolster Knicks' Melo chances

Carmelo's going to end up in NYC just like LeBron, huh?

Leave the homerism where it belongs.

Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: January 31, 2011 10:14 pm

Warkentien could bolster Knicks' Melo chances

Berger, like all the writers, just want to write something that involves Carmelo.  He is going to end up with the Knicks whether this guy is hired or not.  Maybe it is an advantage having known Melo in Denver, but he did a pretty decent job there when he traded Iverson for a winner in Billups.  Also, everyone is making it seem like this hiring is terrible, but as a Knicks fan, I see it more as relief. It means that Isiah Thomas will not be re-hired as GM in the near future.  I would take anyone over our last two GM's in Zeke in Layden. 

18 & 1, like the name by the way.  However, your scenario will not work because the Knicks cannot get both Paul and Felton on the same team.  Two point guards do not and never succeed in one back court and if Felton keeps playing at this level, I would rather have him than Paul because he is much less injury prone.  I would be very happy to get Melo and then after that, we can go get Howard the summer after if Orlando does not sign him to a long term extension.  I would be very satisfied with Felton, Amare, Howard, anc Carmelo.  Plus, Felton won't cost as much and the Knicks can build a stronger group of role players than the Heat currently have.  But your scenario with Howard, Melo, Stat, and Paul is pretty much impossible.  That would be 4 max contracts.  The Heat currently have 3 with Wade, Prince James, and Bosh.  Besides that, they have no true PG or center and very little offense.  If Felton can play like this, I say keep him and get Melo and try to make a splash for Howard when he becomes available.  This team clearly needs a center who can score when he needs to, defend, block shots, and rebound.  This has all been missing since Ewing and has been missing since the overweight waste of space Curry has been on the team earning $11 million to stay out of shape, gain weight, and not play.  But I do disagree with one of the signings.  I stay far away from Rip Hamilton.  He has rapidly declined the last two years and by 2012, he will not be any younger and I doubt how much he will have left in the tank by then.  I know he is a winner and I know he had great years, but he has lost more than a step or two as it clearly shows when he does get to play.  While a trade would help him, Rip will never be the player he was as recently as before the Iverson trade.  He was unhappy and complained when he lost his starting role and if things don't go his way, he seems to be very vocal about it.  After Marbury, the last thing the Knicks need is another falling out with a player who still thinks he is at the top of his game when he is not.  I do agree that Carmelo does not play defense, but if we can sign defensive minds and eventually land Howard if the Magic don't sign him long term first or win a title, then they go for him in 2012.  But even if they give up one or two players on the roster, the pieces that surround Melo and Amare would still be better than the rest of the roster surrounding the Big Three in South Beach.

Since: Sep 25, 2008
Posted on: January 31, 2011 7:18 pm

Warkentien could bolster Knicks' Melo chances

Redhoff- Who are the Nuggets going to be able to deal Melo to other than anyone he signs an extension with, which , let's see, only looks like the Knicks for now. Doesn't seem like a situation in which you can outsmart yourself.

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: January 31, 2011 4:54 pm

Warkentien could also poison the pudding

Interesting news regarding Mark Warkentien. This is a man who was deemed part of the Jail Blazers culture in Portland and let go. This is a man who has been fired again by the Nuggets after once again being taking part in a toxic management structure.  He is a favorite of sports writers because he has been such a consumate suck up, often said to leak information that was proprietary and often weighing in on rival GM's. Can Warkentein fail to follow suit with the Knicks? Can a Harvard class change the character of a man?  

Actually until Joe Dumars decided to blow up the Pistons and send Chancy Billups to Denver for salary cap relief Denver could not get out of the first round of the playoffs. Billups was Denver's one chance to reach for the brass ring and when they slipped their window swung shut. Warkentein is no savior for New York. And he may also not even be a help in attracting Melo to New York. As stated his presence lessens the chance that Mr Kronke will deal with New York. And without Denver's assistance Melo is indeed likely to lose significant money depending on the new CBA. The most likely result of the CBA negotiations is that teams will have some monitary advantage to re-sign their own players. That leaves a team signing Melo at a disadvantage. Mark Warkentien could indeed, again, be the poison in the pudding.

Since: May 16, 2009
Posted on: January 31, 2011 4:04 pm

Warkentien could bolster Knicks' Melo chances

Walking around like they're Gods gift to mankind & basketball isn't being a good role model. They teach kids to be selfish egomaniacs and to never stick with people that love & trust you.

Me, me, me. That's what they teach.

Since: Oct 14, 2010
Posted on: January 31, 2011 3:06 pm

Warkentien could bolster Knicks' Melo chances

LOL.  Ain't happening this year.  Denver's heirachy is in disarray as everyone already knew, they are not making the run they expected off a fluke run a year ago, and they are cleaning house, those that have anything to do with Anthony.  He knows Melo well, so Melo in NY in 2012, would not have been acceptable, so they needed a scapegoat knowing that this guy would follow his meal ticket Melo to NY.  He is just going to get there first.   As a fan, I rather bite the bullet and wait for the new CBA and just sign him at their leisure.  Gives them more time to sniff around Dwight Howard or possibly move Felton in a sign and trade for Paul.  If they get creative the NYKs can have a frontline of Stat, Howard, and Melo with Felton running the show, or get crazier with the numbers and move out the biggest contracts which they dont have many, Chandler, Mosgov, etc at 3.5M and Felton at 7 and bring in Paul in a sign and trade.  That would be really overshooting expectations but if the players want another "super team" I would argue a Howard, Melo, Stat, Paul, Rip Hamilton taking the mid level exception would be way more functional than that Miami mess.  But I would be more than estatic with getting just one of the big 2 along with Melo.  I would love to have just Melo, but Stat is not going to last more than 2 years so I would really like to see them try and go after Howard.  Paul is unneccesary, but if he wants to come, Felton, Chandler, Mosgov, Gallo more than enough salary and talent to trade.  Obviously cant fit Melo, Howard, and Paul under whatever new cap they come up with along with Stat's max contract.So enjoy the defense-free team of 2011, get slammed in 5 games by the Heat and look out for Super Team 2 to form in the Garden next year.

Since: Sep 7, 2006
Posted on: January 31, 2011 2:32 pm

Warkentien could bolster Knicks' Melo chances

The flip-side that Berger is not considering is that the Nuggets just fired the guy, so why would they be so eager to negotiate with him?  Maybe this helps the Knicks be a little smarter, but if the move peeves off Nuggets ownership who obviously don't dig Warkentien, maybe the Nuggets will be less likely to work with what the Knicks. 

Oops, looks like the writer did consider that, oh well

Since: Dec 27, 2007
Posted on: January 31, 2011 2:03 pm

Warkentien could bolster Knicks' Melo chances

Ken Berger = Bored.
 More like Ken Berger = Boring

The one about the Easter Bunny coming to town on Easter.
 More like the Easter Bunny wearing an Anthony jersey.

Since: Dec 27, 2007
Posted on: January 31, 2011 2:01 pm

Warkentien could bolster Knicks' Melo chances

Berger has staked his professional cred on that happenning

What cred? This guy is a one post pony. He's been beating the Anthony to NJ drum for months. Now that its done and buried, he's off to the Knicks. He's clueless.

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