This proved to be a double-edged sword, in that the contracted amount is low enough to demonstrate the predicament Thomas is in, as far as “salary cap and luxury tax hell”. If the contract was for, what many deem to be the fair market value for a decent or unproven NBA Center, somewhere in the range of $5million for 3 years then the Knicks not matching would be more palatable.The Butler Did It…
Jackie Butler did IT in…on the surface that is the look of things, as far as Isiah Thomas not matching the San Antonio Spurs’ offer sheet to this up-and-coming player. For the Spurs the cost is reported at $7 million over 3 years, but because of `luxury tax’ implications the Knicks would have shelled out double that amount. And, not signing him amounts to that – a shell game.
On what level does not guaranteeing the team the services of a 21-year old Center at such a low cost make sense? Conspiracy theorists state it has to do with Butler’s agent being the son of Larry Brown’s agent. For some, even though Brown will no longer coach the team, they are intent on using his name for the duration of the contract.
· By letting Jackie Butler walk, the Knicks have the flexibility in making a trade of one of their higher-priced players and bringing in two players. This has yet to happen during Thomas’ tenure.
· A glut of “big men” which would leave little playing time for Butler behind Eddy Curry and Jerome James, especially with Channing Frye getting spot minutes at Center.
New Style of Play
With the Knicks going up-tempo, does this suit Butler’s game? Though Butler has shown flashes of effectiveness, does he have the physique and stamina to play a run and gun style. Last season he displayed the ability to execute offensively 10-feet in, not bog down the offense by taking unwise shots, being a decent passer, and an average defender.
Jackie Butler did IT in, not due to any particular sense of loyalty that he should have to Thomas for rescuing him from the CBA. NO, not in the cut-throat business of sports. Butler was rumored to have received other more lucrative offers, but chose the Spurs offer.
This proved to be a double-edged sword, in that the contracted amount is low enough to demonstrate the predicament Thomas is in, as far as “salary cap and luxury tax hell”. If the contract was for, what many deem to be the fair market value for a decent or unproven NBA Center, somewhere in the range of $5million for 3 years then the Knicks not matching would be more palatable.
If one edge is pointed at the Knicks, who is the other pointed at? Butler himself!
Due to the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, Butler could receive a yearly amount no more than the MLE (mid-level exception), which starts at about $5.2 million this year. Who is the last Spurs Center to improve his game or reputation while playing next to Tim Duncan? This is not a knock against Duncan. It is a fact that dominant, offensive NBA big men need the player next to them to be defensive show stoppers and / or rebounding machines.
Is Jackie that type of player? In his limited NBA experience he has not been. This is not to say that Butler will be a liability to the Spurs. When he gets his offensive touches, he will have to show that he deserves them – the reason why Malik Rose with picks was traded for Nazr Mohammed.
The reason Rasho Nesterovic was traded to the Raptors.
The reason Nazr was only able to garner the MLE in a market starved for experienced big men. A market where Ben Wallace gets $60 million over 4 years. Nene is expected to sign for a similar amount. Same with Tyson Chandler last year.
Had the Knicks matched the “offer sheet”, Butler would have had the opportunity to supplant James (this season) and possibly Curry (in 2 more years). He would have had the opportunity to develop offensively while being accepted for not being a defensive giant. WAIT! Is that the reason the Knicks did not match?
See, the Spurs have shown the ability to overcome their Center not being an all-defensive force. Being that the Knicks are at the other end of the championship spectrum, all Thomas can do is smile for proving once again he has an eye for young talent, and wish Butler the very best.