Hey New York Knicks: Just give Landry Fields the money already!

In the offseason Landry Fields has already popped up twice in our articles. First, he was the top of our “sure-fire” targets in free agency. Next, Ken Drews and I discussed why New York should pick him up. New York has been the poster child of poor spending here at the Wages of Wins Journal. In Stumbling on Wins, Dave devoted a whole chapter to Isiah Thomas’ reign in New York. I want to put some perspective on Landry Fields.

Landry Fields’ career numbers via the NBA Geek. *2012 Season adjusted for 82 game season.

Season Minutes WP48 Wins Salary
2010-2011 2540 0.219 11.6 $0.5
2011-2012* 2296* 0.170 8.3* $0.8

For the mere cost of around $1.25 million Fields has produced 20 wins in his first two seasons as a Knick. If we take last season to be “the norm” then at a cost of $7 million a year, Fields is asking for less than a million a win and in New York that’s an amazing bargain. The Knicks fans and management seem to be questioning this. So I thought I’d give a fun history lesson of the Knicks in a quick table.

Quick reminder a WP48 of 0.100 is average. All numbers were pulled from the NBA Geek’s New York index or Wages of Wins 2000 numbers.

Season Player Minutes WP48 Wins Salary
1999-2000 Patrick Ewing 2035 0.097 4.1 $15.0
1999-2000 Larry Johnson 2281 0.087 4.2 $11.9
2000-2001* Larry Johnson 2105 0.044 1.9 $11.0
2000-2001* Latrell Sprewell 3017 0.059 3.7 $10.2
2001-2002 Allan Houston 2914 0.039 2.4 $12.8
2001-2002 Latrell Sprewell 3326 0.003 0.2 $11.3
2002-2003 Allan Houston 3108 0.070 4.5 $14.3
2002-2003 Latrell Sprewell 2859 0.061 3.7 $12.4
2003-2004 Allan Houston 1799 0.029 1.1 $15.9
2003-2004 Antonio McDyess 421 0.069 0.6 $13.5
2003-2004 Keith Van Horn 1574 0.143 4.7 $13.3
2004-2005 Allan Houston 532 0.004 0.0 $17.5
2004-2005 Stephon Marbury 3281 0.184 12.6 $14.6
2004-2005 Anfernee Hardaway 894 0.017 0.3 $14.6
2004-2005 Tim Thomas 1940 -0.001 0.0 $12.9
2005-2006 Stephon Marbury 2193 0.075 3.4 $16.5
2005-2006 Anfernee Hardaway 72 -0.068 -0.1 $15.8
2006-2007 Stephon Marbury 2748 0.071 4.1 $17.2
2006-2007 Steve Francis 1237 0.145 3.7 $15.1
2007-2008 Stephon Marbury 805 0.057 1.0 $19.0
2007-2008 Zach Randolph 2244 0.056 2.6 $13.3
2008-2009 Larry Hughes 687 0.042 0.6 $12.8
2009-2010 Eddy Curry 62 -0.529 -0.1 $10.5
2009-2010 Al Harrington 2195 -0.020 -0.9 $10.0
2010-2011 Carmelo Anthony 978 0.125 2.5 $17.2
2010-2011 Amare Stoudemire 2871 0.070 4.2 $16.5
2010-2011 Chauncey Billups 665 0.116 1.6 $13.2
2011-2012 Carmelo Anthony 2330* 0.104 5.1* $18.5
2011-2012  Amare Stoudemire  1886*  0.036  1.5*  $18.2 
2011-2012  Tyson Chandler  2542*  0.311  16.5*  $13.1 

That’s a breakdown of every Knick since the turn of the century to make $10 million or more a season and suit up (so that means retired Larry Johnson, injured McDyess, forced to sit Marbury and Curry and amnestied Chauncey aren’t counted) — and I didn’t even adjust for inflation! The Knicks have had at least one below average player getting top dollar ever season for over a decade. What’s more, of the 30 times the Knicks shelled out premium dollars, they only got good return twice: Stephon Marbury in 2005 and Tyson Chandler last season.

Summing up

It seems odd that for a team that year in and year out offers top dollar to mediocre to bad players, that they would suddenly have a problem offering Landry Fields a little more than the mid-level exception. I also need to offer some friendly advice to the Knicks and the Knicks’ fans.

You do not have flexibility. Melo, Amare and Chandler have you over the cap for the next three seasons. Your draft squad is good but even in the best case that’s a crap shoot. You lucked into the courts siding with you on Bird Rights for Novak and Lin. Your best hope for success is to re-sign Lin, Novak and Fields. You need to bench Amare if he’s not playing well and replace him with Melo. You have a shot to be a good team. However, if you’re trying to suddenly sell me that you won’t overpay for players…well history does not support that. On the other hand, If you’re trying to sell me that you don’t want a winning squad? Well history is in full support of that.

-Dre

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