February 25, 2011
The New York Knicks are looking a little undersized these days. To bring Carmelo Anthony(notes) and Chauncey Billups(notes) to Penn Plaza, Knicks president of basketball operations Donnie Walsh shipped out Timofey Mozgov(notes) (who stands 7-foot-1), Danilo Gallinari(notes) (6-foot-10) and Wilson Chandler(notes) (6-foot-8; but he can play a bit bigger and spent about 13 percent of his floor time playing power forward). As a result, Amar'e Stoudemire(notes) and Ronny Turiaf(notes) are the only Knicks taller than 6-foot-10. Clearly, they could use at least one more tall guy.
Hey! You know who's a tall guy? Jared Jeffries(notes)! You know, the ex-Knick who was traded to the Houston Rockets last year along with 2009 lottery pick Jordan Hill(notes) and first-round selections in 2011 and 2012 for the monster expiring contract of a devastated 30-year-old Tracy McGrady(notes)? Right. That guy.
Well, that guy's 6-foot-11, he never really found a home in Houston — he's averaged just 7.7 minutes per game in only 18 appearances this season — and he didn't figure into the Rockets' future plans at all (whatever those plans are, exactly). Which is why Houston plans to buy out his expiring contract and free him up to sign with another team, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.
Newsday's Alan Hahn later confirmed the report, tweeting that Jeffries is expected to sign with the Knicks as soon as he is officially bought out by Houston, which could happen as early as Friday morning, and after he has cleared the 48-hour waiver period, which could enable him to be in uniform when the Knicks take on the Miami Heat on Sunday night (although Hahn thinks it more likely that Jeffries would join the team Tuesday to take on the Orlando Magic).
This news + MSG's mawkish Dirty Money-themed 'Melo commercial + The Internet + no time flat = VIDEO JOKES.
The first, made by Ben Masur:
... followed shortly thereafter by a second entry, created by DJ eSenTRiK:
Pretty good stuff, guys. If we're casting ballots, I'll take the latter because it employed an actual Jeffries quote (although I suppose it's possible that I just missed the interview where he said, "In fact, I suck"). One note, though: Next time, make sure to run some sort of advanced CGI morphing sequence that combines images of adult Jaleel White and Jon Heder to show us exactly how Jeffries was designed. That'd be a good look.
The videos poke fun at the epic bombast that surrounded the Carmelo trade, but they also (at least somewhat) denigrate Jeffries as a player, which is a bit unfair. Sure, he's not very exciting, offensively gifted, aesthetically pleasing or particularly remarkable, but that doesn't make him a Communist. Wait, what was I saying?
The reality is, Knicks fans are sensitive about Jared Jeffries because his return represents yet another unwelcome reminder of the era when Isiah Thomas publicly (as opposed to secretly) ran the Knicks and made ill-advised moves ... like signing an offensively challenged player without a defined role to a five-year, $30 million offer sheet after four relatively undistinguished seasons with the Washington Wizards to play on a leadership-challenged team without a defined pecking order or division of responsibilities.
As has been noted everywhere, Isiah is anathema to most 'Bocker backers, and with every report of his constant, mind-boggling influence continuing to cast a shadow over the Knicks front office, New York fans grow ever more concerned that they'll never be freed of the ties that bind them to the worst era in franchise history. In Jeffries' case, that's a shame, because under D'Antoni last season, his value as a do-everything-but-score type with length, athleticism, a penchant for drawing offensive fouls and the ability to guard all five positions started to emerge. In fact, a player like that could fill in a lot of gaps for a Knicks team that possesses two high-usage scorers but no real stoppers and that ranks in the bottom third of the league in defensive efficiency.
As long as he bears the mark of Zeke, though, it's unlikely that Jeffries will ever find himself completely within the good graces of the New York faithful. Oh, well. If you can't get love, getting laughs is the next best thing, right? (Seriously, please tell me that's right. I've kind of built an ethos around that premise.)