March 14, 2011
In the modern era, where just about every transaction is scrutinized 4,700 times before it's actually agreed upon, teams often find themselves answering as many questions about their intent and plan for their players as they do questions about the team's defense down the stretch or playing time decisions.
And as the face of the franchise, both pre- and post-game, Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni is often charged with explaining or detailing decisions with personnel that he (or even his GM, Donnie Walsh) may have no control over. Like the team's brief time as an employer of former Minnesota Timberwolves wing Corey Brewer(notes), who the team traded for and promptly released before he hooked on with the Dallas Mavericks last month.
D'Antoni, whilst sipping team from a tiny cup, explained:
"We let him go here because he got a two- or three-year contract and some money and they asked us for him to go," said D'Antoni. "I thought we did the right thing as an organization, that we couldn't promise him what he can have there. I think you have to take your hat off to the organization and to Donnie Walsh for doing the classy thing and let him do it."
So classy. Soft Corinthian leather, classy.
It was the best move for Brewer, by a long shot. Not only was he able to jump from the Knicks (a middling Eastern Conference playoff team) to an outright contender in Dallas, but he signed a three-year extension along the way. Brewer's contract is well below the league average, but it is guaranteed money for three years for a player that, if we're honest, has nights where he doesn't exactly look like someone who belongs in an NBA rotation.
What Brewer does do, consistently, is defend well. And in dumping a sound wing defender, the Knicks took heaps of heat from both fans and analysts alike, who pointed to the team's iffy 21st ranking out of 30 teams in terms of defensive efficiency. He's not a shooter, though, despite a nearly average 35 percent mark from long range in 2009-10. And non-shooters just don't have much of a place in Mike D'Antoni's schemes, which led to his release.
Which led to the explanation.
Which led to Mike D'Antoni calling those Knicks so, so classy.
Which led to the pinky, jutting out from the side of that tea cup.