The New York Knicks have made plenty of questionable decisions during their history. A lot of questionable decisions. However, lately the team seems to have made some kind of pact with CAA. If that's a good or bad decision still remains to be seen but it certainly should help them bring some talent to New York. That being said, if the rumors of them acquiring Andrea Bargnani instead of LaMarcus Aldridge are true only because Bargnani is represented by CAA that is a big problem.
LaMarcus Aldridge makes $14,100,000 this season and has one more year left on his contract worth $15,200,000. Andrea Bargnani makes $11,000,000 this season and $12,000,000 next season. Clearly it would have taken more players and maybe even a third team to acquire Aldridge instead of Bargnani but the fact is that Aldridge is a much better player. Outside of trading Carmelo Anthony, Aldridge would have been worth whatever the price might have been to acquire him.
Aldridge is a 28 year old 6'11", 240 pound power forward/center who played at the University of Texas in Austin. He was selected second overall in the 2006 NBA Draft by the Chicago Bulls.
He's averaged 18.8 points, 1.0 blocks, 0.8 steals, 2.0 assists and 8.1 rebounds per game over his seven year career with the Portland Trail Blazers. However, he's developed into one of the best big men in the NBA. He's a stud. This season he's averaging 24.6 points, 1.0 blocks, 0.9 steals, 2.9 assists, and 11.5 rebounds per game.
To say he's a better player than Bargnani would be a gross understatement. Bargnani has career averages of 15.0 points, 0.9 blocks, 0.4 steals, 1.2 assists and 4.9 rebounds per game. However, this season he's averaging 13.3 points, 1.2 blocks, 0.3 steals, 1.1 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game.
Beyond that, the eye test tells you Bargnani isn't in Aldridge's league. Aldridge is tougher, plays more physical, is more athletic and is simply a better all around player.
When you compare the two statistically, Aldridge doesn't seem to blow Bargnani out of the water but the difference is obvious when you watch them play. First of all, Aldridge is a stronger defender than Bargnani. Second of all, Aldridge seems to be on an upswing while Bargnani has platued. Third of all, Aldridge is far more consistent from game-to-game while Bargnani tends to either be very impactful or disappear.
What the price of acquiring Aldridge might have been is unknown. The package likely would have required Tyson Chandler and perhaps Iman Shumpert as well. Make no mistake about it, it would have been worth it. Not only would Aldridge would have given New York a stud player moving forward but his acquisition likely would have made Carmelo Anthony's mind up for him about if he should stay in orange and blue or not.
Acquiring Aldridge would have been a game changer. Of course, the Knicks didn't make the move. That being said, there's also some build in skepticism with this rumor simply because if came from Stephen A. Smith. Not that Smith doesn't know what he's talking about. However, it's his job to create buzz and get people talking.
That's gotten him under fire with many Knicks fans, claiming that he's not the Knicks fan he claims to be. Here's the thing, being a fan of a team doesn't mean you don't criticize that team, hold them to high standards or ignore the fact that there are talented players on other teams.
Call him a fraud of a fan if you choose but realize that Smith is more in-the-know than most. Also know that his job is to draw attention his way and keep people talking so he often looks for controversial things to say and probably makes claims he doesn't even believe are true himself just because it's his job.
That being said, it's understandable to doubt Smith's information. He's pretty much brought that doubt upon himself. However, Smith is not the subject at hand. The Knicks ability to acquire Aldridge is. More importantly, the issue of New York passing up superior talent for a client of CAA is.
After all, having a working relationship with an agency is a positive thing. However, they shouldn't run the franchise and they shouldn't cause your franchise to pass up on players that can clearly help you more than their client. If what Smith claims is true, it's disturbing.
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