Wednesday , Mar , 05 , 2008 C.Y. Ellis

The New York Knicks Will be Rebuilding for Years


There were boos Monday night at Madison Square Garden, though not for the usual reasons. The Knicks were losing, of course, but the jeers were stoked by a more subtle act: the removal of Nate Robinson from the game in the final minutes. In the empty final weeks of another dismal season, fans are groping for shards of optimism. So they cheer every jitterbug step by Robinson and every gritty rebound by David Lee — two Knicks who most represent the faint promise of better days.

Imagine, then, the howls of anguish if Lee and Robinson decide to escape the misery, the chaos and the Garden politics by leaving as free agents. If circumstances are bad enough, it could happen in the next two years. As third-year players, Lee and Robinson are eligible to sign lucrative contract extensions this summer. When that time comes, they will have to weigh the benefits of financial security against the drawbacks of playing for the league’s most dysfunctional franchise. In three years with the Knicks, Robinson and Lee have endured the Larry Brown-Stephon Marbury feud, the Brown-Isiah Thomas feud and the Thomas-Marbury feud. They have played for two coaches, and could see a third by next fall. They have lost twice as many games as they have won. Click here for more from the New York Times.