Nets, Knicks continue free-fall into despair

Nets, Knicks continue free-fall into despair
December 27, 2013, 12:00 pm
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Webster serenades camera with Christmas tunes

(Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Desperation is abound in the East as there are just a few days left in 2013 and time running out to turn around the season. Of course, it's all about New York, which had its two high-profile teams, the Knicks and Nets, featured in Christmas Day duds. 

Nets coach Jason Kidd apparently let his team have it after a 95-78 home loss to the injury-depleted Chicago Bulls. Kevin Garnett, supposedly a key acquisition to help lead the Nets at least past the first round of the playoffs, concurred with his coach. He walked out on them. They're 9-19 and are without starting center Brook Lopez for the rest of the season and it doesn't appear anyone has any answers.

The Knicks took the worst Christmas beating ever, 123-94 to the Oklahoma City Thunder at Madison Square Garden. That's on top of home losses already by 31 and 41 points. Granted, Carmelo Anthony (left ankle sprain) was out but those earlier thrashings came with him in the lineup. 

But wait, the Knicks (9-19) have a "plan" to lure Rajon Rondo from the Boston Celtics in a similar way that Anthony landed in New York. He forced his trade with the Denver Nuggets in 2011 which of course is a tricky proposition. If a player makes it known that he wants to go to a particular team, it handicaps the leverage of the team that owns his rights (Boston) to negotiate a deal that brings maximum value.

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Of course, that didn't stop the Nuggets who had zero leverage with the Knicks -- they had to trade Anthony or let him become a free agent at the end of the season and walk for nothing -- and still were able to get the better end of it. They got four players, the best of whom were starters Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari, and an unprotected 2014 first-round draft pick. If the Knicks continue this free-fall, the Nuggets could make the playoffs and still have a 2014 lottery pick

Considering the depth of this draft, that would be a devastating blow. The Knicks not being good enough to qualify for the postseason given the lack of quality in the conference would rank as an all-time low.

Rondo has yet to play this season as he recovers from knee surgery, but there's no indication that he wants to go to New York. If he still fits in with first-year coach Brad Stevens' plans, why would he want to leave stability in Boston for potential chaos? His surly, standoffish and sometimes volatile personality doesn't seem to be a fit.

Whereas the Knicks' roster, and coaching staff, likely will have major overhauls, there's stability in Boston. Rondo has a chance to be the centerpiece and help make the Celtics a contender again -- without Paul Pierce, Garnett and Ray Allen. That might be more alluring than the bright lights of New York.

The Knicks may get lost waiting for Rondo. The Nets remain just lost. 

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