With the emergence of Danilo Gallinari, it looks like the New York Knicks’ highest paid player, Larry Hughes, will be odd man out in coach Mike D’Antoni’s rotation. Situation sound familiar? Last year, the team’s highest paid player and the former face of the franchise, Stephon Marbury, was basically blackballed by D’Antoni at this exact point in the preseason. While Steph bit his tongue at first, it wasn’t long until things started to spiral out of control and the Knicks’ season started to play out like an episode of the Hills.
Now that Marbury’s gone and busy spending his free time making bizzarre webcasts and arguing with people via Twitter, the Knicks are hoping to have a drama-free season. While Larry seems to have his head on straight (compared to Stephon anyway), he does have a history of being disgruntled if he is not playing. So far, Hughes said he will continue to be a team player, but would prefer it if the Knicks trade him to a contender or buy him out if they aren’t planning on giving him burn. Knicks president of basketball operations, Donnie Walsh, has no intentions of doing that at this moment.
“Just because you guys write it, doesn’t mean we’re going to do it,” Walsh told Newsday yesterday.
Hughes got a DNP-CD in the Knicks’ Tuesday night game against the Celtics. Last night, Hughes went 0-3 in 17 minutes of action. Throughout the preseason, Hughes has struggled mightily, averaging 1.2 points and shooting an awful 1-23 from the field.
While this situation won’t come close to escalating like last year, I certainly envision this being an issue at some point in the season. Because of Hughes’ expiring contract and their 2010 plan, I don’t see the Knicks trading him unless they get a better player and expiring contract in return. Plus, they need insurance if Danilo gets hurt and they know that when Larry is on his game he can be dangerous. I think Larry will definitely be disgruntled if he doesn’t play but I think he has enough common sense to not become a sideshow. Because unlike Steph, I think Hughes wants to play another season.
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