Not sure how many articles there are going to be. But I'll start with Vescey. Nothing really new here from Friday night
By PETER VECSEY
UNLIKE the majority of coaches, Larry Brown doesn't feel as if he has to start any of his players except for Stephon Marbury. Therefore the Knicks' mad scientist plays 'em all in a nutty season made even crazier by a new Collective Bargaining Agreement that instituted the use of a trigger-turnstile 15-man inventory.
Let's start with some simple multiplication: 15 x 14 x 13 x 12 x 11.
All right, I cheated. I relocated my abacus and came up with 360,360.
That's the number of possible starting fives Home Town Brown can concoct, working from a swiveling cacophonous group of band members. Of course, that's assuming none of the 15 gets interchanged down the interstate.
360,360. Put another way, based on the 82-game season, Brown would have to grace the Garden for nearly 4,400 years to try 'em all.
When placed in that light quilting 20 or 30 different quintets this season (16 and counting of a possible 26) is downright stable.
The method to Brown's amplified madness is clear. He's covering his posterior by fiddling with a multitude of combinations to make it seem as if his players' ineptness and inexperience give him no other choice but to group grope.
This from a guy who, while in Detroit, didn't go nine-deep on the layup line.
So what, you might say, if Brown plays with the hearts and minds of the active and inactive. What's wrong with leaving no Oliver Stone unturned?
Well, for one thing, save for the plebes and shapeless Eddy Curry - and we can only guess how Brown's tire rotation is getting into those fragile young minds - the New York Knicks have as many valuable assets as the New York Democrats.
John Wooden used to say, if a team's talent is even (read: evenly defective), then there should be no problem settling on an unwavering lineup. In other words, Brown is long overdue to make that command decision, if for no other reason than to establish a false sense of stability.
One of Isiah Thomas' countless mistakes, if not the most glaring, was not hiring Rick Carlisle for a couple years to facilitate Larry Brown's transition.
Pacers' CEO Donnie Walsh has never been fond of making disruptive in-season trades or radically changing the roster for any other grounds. Though any time major alternations occur it seems as if Ron Artest is the core of the cause.
In mid-February 2002, Tru Warier and Brad Miller were the primary components acquired by Indiana from Chicago for Jalen Rose. Last season, Artest got sentenced to 73 games on the shelf for breaking and entering the Palace stands, and dragged Jermaine O'Neal, Stephen Jackson and others onto the suspended list with him. And now Artest's trashing of Carlisle and trade demand has given Walsh no alternative but to comply; the smoother the conversion the better.
Nobody is more qualified to help the Pacers realize that objective than former Pacer Al Harrington. The Knicks can pump out all the propaganda they want their pursuit of the New Jersey native but they've got no ammo to get him this season from the Hawks (unless they're prepared to part with precious Channing Frye), and Harrington would be foolish twice over to join another loser next season as New York's mid-level exception.
In the meantime, the Pacers have their sights set on reclaiming Harrington, who would fit in seamlessly with O'Neal and his other ex-teammates, who he stays in touch with and remains tight.
This is the player Walsh and Larry Bird and Carlisle want. Problem is, the Hawks don't want Artest. So a third team must be included, a team that wants Artest and is able to satisfy Atlanta. Easier desired than done.
Sources identify Artest's most ardent suitors: Clippers (Chris Wilcox, not Corey Maggette, as reported, plus someone else and a No. 1 pick); Nuggets (Nene has yet to be offered but how else can they accomplish it?); Wizards (Caron Butler or Jarred Jeffries and Chucky Atkins match contractually); Sonics (Vladimir Radmanovic, Reggie Evans and Flip Murray all have the power to void trades, and that's still not enough salary to get it done); Timberwolves (neither Atlanta nor Indiana is intrigued by Wally Szczerbiak); and the Warriors (they were willing to give up Jay Murphy for Kwame Brown, so why wouldn't they be open to it now?).
Isn't the Washington Post held in the highest esteem? Aren't its reporters renowned fact checkers? Aren't they supposed to have the most reputable sources?
Well, its Wizards beat writer definitely was led astray the other day when he alleged Washington and New York were chatting up Jeffries/Atkins for Quentin Richardson swap. Never happened! Never will! Sheer nonsense! Why would the Wiz entertain a deal for someone with five years left on his contract ($40M) whose back is uninsurable for two contributors with expiring deals? The Washington Post must have Ernie Grunfeld, Wiz president of basketball operations/former Knicks executive, confused with the current one.
Naturally, Thomas is especially eager to renounce Richardson, particularly if a small forward or point guard can be obtained in the process. Let the record show, discloses a source, that Q's reintroduction into the starting lineup last week, only this time at the guard position, occurred immediately after the Nuggets inquired about his health. As much as Denver needs a licensed off shore driller, it's highly doubtful GM Kiki Vandeweghe will sign off on such an assigned risk, even if means dumping the distinctively unimpressive Julius Hodge's 3-year, $3.7M guarantee as part payment. Earl Watson, not available in a trade until Dec. 29, is the Knicks' focal "point" in these discussions.
If Brown ever had any sincere interest in reuniting with Eric Snow, now's the chance to prove it. The Cavaliers, I'm informed, are on the prowl for someone more capable to run the team. The feeling within the franchise, as well as from afar, is the 32-year-old Snow ($20M more on the books following this season) has stalled to a crawl, and 3-point chucking, showboating Damon Jones ($12M more over the next three) is purely one-dimensional. ... Contrary to reports, the Nuggets' Kenyon Martin is not being shopped in any shape or form. ... Kings exec Geoff Petrie let it be known he has no intention of trading Peja Stojakovic and never spoke to the Pacers about any such trade for Artest. ... Houston wouldn't so much as entertain an offer from the Nets for Stromile Swift. The Rockets are looking to procure a backup shooting guard. ... Of all continuously fabricated drivel churned out by ESPN.com (except for the real stuff it commandeers from other media outlets) its speculation regarding the Sonics and Knicks (Rashard Lewis and Danielle Pig Tails for Penny Hardaway and Nate "The Gadget" Robinson has to be most outlandish and least educated. Even Stephen Anal Smith doesn't want his stained name attached to it. ... In case you missed it, Phil Jackson was fined 25G by the NBA for expressing interest (while in Toronto, no less) in Chris Bosh two seasons from now. The league returned the money yesterday when Jackson articulated he had no interest whatsoever in any Knick.