The Knicks' constant rebuild continueshttp://www.nydailynews.com/sports/basketball/knicks/knicks-constant-re
Knicks fans know by now that Kristaps Porzingis, at 7-3, had not just brought his unique skill set to the Knicks and Madison Square Garden since showing up from Latvia. He had brought something even more important, which is why he absolutely felt like the most important draft pick the Knicks had made since Patrick Ewing. Porzingis, a vastly different kind of big man than Patrick had been, had brought hope.
Now he lands wrong at the Garden and his knee explodes and, to borrow words from a lifelong Knicks fan named William Goldman, nobody knows anything about when Porzingis will return. Maybe this was going to be another lost season for the Knicks, anyway, despite the bright promise of its beginnings. Now it officially becomes one because the Latvian kid has torn his ACL.
And so this becomes another moment when Knicks fans feel as if they are rooting for the basketball equivalent of the Cleveland Browns.
The Knicks have not crashed the way the Browns have over the past few years. They have not been as bad as 1-15 or 0-16. But rooting for these teams, for a long time, has felt the same, as if the Knicks really have become the New York Browns.
The feeling came crashing home again when Porzingis went crashing to the floor. Nobody who roots for the team is feeling hope right now. Just a familiar sense that the team is doomed; that so much of what has gone wrong at the Garden since Patrick left after the 2000 season just continues to go wrong, in every possible way, on the court and off.
Maybe this was going to be another lost season for the Knicks, anyway, despite the bright promise of its beginnings. Now it officially becomes one because the Latvian kid, Kristaps Porzingis, has torn his ACL.(Ned Dishman/NBAE/Getty Images)
Since Patrick left, the Knicks have lost more games than anybody else in the league except the Timberwolves, who through Friday night had lost one more game over the last 17 ½ seasons. But Tom Thibodeau’s team is good again, really good, with Karl-Anthony Towns and Jimmy Butler and the fourth-best record in the Western Conference. They are ascendant again. The Knicks are not.
Starting in 2000, the Knicks have averaged 48 losses per year. They have a record of 599-835, a winning percentage slightly over .400. They are 236 games under .500. The Browns are 86-202 over the same period, a winning percentage slightly under .300. So it is not so crazy to compare them to the Browns, who aren’t even the real historical Browns, because the real Browns became the Baltimore Ravens and have won a couple of Super Bowls in the same basic timeframe we’re talking about. But they’ve averaged nearly five wins a year starting in 2000, even with 1-31 the last two.
So yeah. Rooting for the Knicks is like rooting for them.
The Browns have only had one playoff game in the time period we’re talking about. The Knicks have only won one playoff series, in 2013, when they were 54-28 under Mike Woodson and seemed like they might be on their way to a matchup with LeBron and Wade and Bosh in the Eastern Conference finals before the Pacers stole Game 1 of the semis at the Garden and ended up beating the Knicks in six games.
Glen Grunwald was the general manager that season. Grunwald didn’t even make it to the start of the next season. Before long James Dolan turned over the whole store to Phil Jackson, and you know how swimmingly that went. Phil fired Woodson and replaced him with Derek Fisher and ultimately replaced Fisher with Jeff Hornacek, who remains the coach, at least for the time being. Steve Mills and Scott Perry are now in charge of the basketball operation.
Patrick Ewing.(BETH A. KEISER/ASSOCIATED PRESS)
And the Knicks, who were supposed to be rebuilding — again — were no better record-wise this season, even before Porzingis got hurt, than they were a year ago. For the last three seasons, they have been 23-33 after their first 56 games. They might have lost 50 games again with Porzingis. Will almost certainly lose 50 without him. Which makes this year look so much like so many others since Patrick got old and got gone. Knicks fans know the deal: More things change, more they stay the same. What can go wrong will go wrong, which is exactly what happened when Porzingis blew out his knee the other night.
This was going to be the years when the kids began to take over at the Garden, not just Porzingis but Frank Ntilikina and Enes Kanter and maybe even Willy Hernangomez, who showed you flashes last season, and is still just 23. He’s gone now, in a trade. Porzingis will miss this season and Lord knows how much of next season. Knicks fans are now supposed to get excited as they watch Ntilikina fight it out at point guard with a former lottery pick named Emmanuel Mudiay, whom they just got from Denver. Watch these kids, they are told, now that the kid you wanted to watch, Porzingis, requires the kind of major surgery that even Patrick never required for his aching knees.
“Who knew,” I said to Patrick Ewing not long ago, “that when you left you were taking the Knicks with you.”
“They’ll be back one of these days,” he said.
They never lost their history the way Cleveland did when the Browns left for Baltimore. They’ve still got the history of Clyde and Willis and DeBusschere and Bradley and Earl the Pearl. But the current Browns started out as an expansion team. The Knicks just turned into one.
Baseball contracts, or lack thereof, Frazier fit & get Foles . . .
- All you need to know about the current impasse with free agents in baseball is the headline I saw the other day about Eric Hosmer looking for an 8- or 9-year deal.
Well, OK, Hosmer can look for a contract like that.
But on what planet?
And on what planet is a $125 million, five-year deal something about which J.D. Martinez gets to act insulted, a glorified DH who had one really great home-run year splitting time between the Detroit Tigers and the Arizona Diamondbacks?
Maybe the starting pitchers on the market, none of whom are great, thought they were going to get the kind of crazy money that David Price got from the Red Sox.
As one respected and longtime baseball executive said to me the other day, “The Price deal might look better someday. It’s never going to look good.”
But owners are supposed to be colluding because they’re not giving guys like Martinez the kind of seven-year deal that the Yankees gave Jacoby Ellsbury, somebody the Yankees now can’t give away.
And if you want to look at a longer contract than that, look at where the Mariners are with Robinson Cano, four years into his 10-year and $240 million deal.
You know how many times Cano has hit .300 in Seattle so far?
On what planet is a $125 million, five-year deal something about which J.D. Martinez gets to act insulted?(Frank Franklin II/AP)
The same executive said to me, “Do you accuse people of collusion for finally coming to their senses on deals like that, or salute them for finally coming to their damn senses?”
- I happened to be listening to the song “Chicago” on the radio the other day, and once again left with this question:
What could they possibly be doing on State Street, that great street, that they don’t do on Broadway?
I mean, seriously?
Todd Frazier just happens to be an absolutely perfect fit for the New York Mets.
And Mets fans?
The more you get to know Mickey Callaway, the better you’re going to like him.
- The Jets have to at least find out if the Eagles are willing to trade Nick Foles, and how much it would take to get him.
Because I would rather have him than Kirk Cousins.
There have been so many good stories across 52 Super Bowls.
There has never been a better one than Foles, the back-up quarterback, beating Bill Belichick and Tom Brady and the Patriots last Sunday in Minneapolis.
It was the great Dan Jenkins, in analyzing the Winter Olympics once, who described cross-country skiing as just being the way that Norwegians went to the 7-Eleven.
A salute to Father Pete
An extremely fond farewell to one of the great characters of this city, Father Pete Colapietro.
He was the son of a saloon keeper who became the patron saint of New York saloons himself, especially at Elaine’s, where he would drink and hold court with cops and writers and actors, not one of them a bigger or better character than he was.
He was Father Pete.
He was the pastor at Holy Cross on 42nd Street and later the pastor at the actor’s church in the middle of the theater district, St. Malachy’s, one of the small, wonderful shrines of our city.
Father Pete Colapietro inside The Holy Cross Catholic Church on W42st.(Savulich, Andrew/New York Daily News)
He fed the hungry and sheltered the homeless, and always showed a great big city heart as big as he was.
He officiated at Dave DeBusschere’s funeral once, out on Long Island.
And that day, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church on Fifth Street in Garden City, Father Pete spoke of DeBusschere as a “simple saloonkeeper’s son, who always looked for the other guy.”
That was Father Pete.
Guy giving the eulogy could have been talking about himself.
I went to Mass at St. Malachy’s at Christmas this past December, and was talking to a woman who works at the church during the collection, and she said she had recently seen Father Pete, and how frail he looked, and wondered if he would even make it to Christmas.
He only made it as far as this week.
He truly did come out of another New York City, Runyon’s New York City, as everybody has said about him since we got word of his passing, the New York of characters exactly like him, out of smoke-filled and whiskey-fueled nights mostly made of laughter.
He loved calling New York the “capital of hope.”
Loved telling stories about a life that began in Castle Hill.
No better story than Father Pete himself.