Peter Vecsey Can't Fool Us

Editor’s Note: Our thanks to TKB reader Sean Cronin for informing us that the Daily News, not Vecsey, scooped incorrectly about the Fratello hiring. Our apologies.

And our league source has not confirmed the reported Tinsley-to-Denver deal for Atkins and Hunter.

So I almost spilled my coffee on the train this morning reading Peter Vecsey’s column in today’s Post where the Man of Misery took a swipe at Newsday’s coverage of the Marbury and Randolph situations over the past few weeks.

How can Marbury possibly still be an active member of the Knicks? Unless my short-term memory, too, is a shambles, I swear I read a couple weeks ago in Newsday, that the Knicks were days away from outright releasing him or agreeing to a buyout of this season’s $21.9 million guarantee.

How could several sources that the author claimed confirmed the report all be mistaken?Weeks prior to that exclusive, Newsday broke another story; within days, readers were notified, Randolph and a trade-maximum $3M to defray 1/18 of his $48M, 3-year obligation, would be dispatched to the Grizzlies for Darko Milicic and Marko Jaric. The holdup, we were told, was the inclusion of a New York number one pick in exchange for either point guard Kyle Lowry or Javaris Crittenton.

How can Randolph possibly be jacking up jumpers for Mike D’Antoni as he did for Isiah Thomas . . . when sources confirmed to the author Zach would be in Graceland by that weekend?”

Granted, both players are still here, despite my own notion that they would be gone, and who better to point that out than the master of inaccuracy himself? But before I get into his pedigree, as if I need to, smart basketball fans have tuned Vescey out for a while making him almost completely irrelevant, I mean I’m still waiting for Ron Harper to become a Knick, and for Fratello to coach them. The bottom line is that these two players are not in the Knicks’ future plans. Marbury will not be on the team next year and in order for the Knicks to get under the cap Randolph needs to be shown the door. You don’t need “sources” to tell you that.

Remember, we reported before Newsday, that a first round pick was involved, and it was. I stand by that. I’m assuming Vecsey’s “Memphis source” may be Chris Wallace himself, or some yahoo at a Memphis juke-joint. Wallace’s agenda was to fleece Walsh, in an attempt to replace Pau Gasol, whom the Grizz gave to the Fakers. Walsh was not going to be duped.

I’ve been at this journalism thing for a while, and I’m new to this beat thing with the Knicks, but I’ve learned a lot in a short period of time. I think the two best qualities a writer can possess is logic and good sources. What I’ve learned is that if you have a solid source, you have to go with it, because if your instincts are right and you don’t go with it you’ve missed a great chance. If it’s wrong or things change, which they often do several times a week, you live with it. It’s part of the game.

I think Newsday did a great job this summer, and the fans did too, and this is coming from someone who, until last year, never read the thing.

But they don’t need me to defend them, my beef is purely with Vecsey. Here’s a guy whose smug humor is a nice niche, especially for the Post, of which reading is part of my daily routine. Vecsey’s trash-talking today would make his former coach at Archbishop Molloy, Jack Curran, cringe. Especially based on his what he’s done. At this point, based on Newsday’s coverage, Vecsey’s column is the equivalent of getting the better of the player guarding you in a game, and then having them talk smack after finally scoring in the 4th quarter of a game your team’s winning by 20.

Vecsey has often been accused of writing fiction, as well as just simply not paying attention. Just this past April he wrote that he expected Sam Mitchell to be fired by the Raptors because a “whispering campaign” said Mitchell was:

“not a hard worker or on top of the league’s current events. A few months ago, before the Raptors were to play the Lakers, he addressed the team by telling them, “We’ll worry about the guy who got 81 in a second, but first I want to talk about Andrew Bynum and how he killed us last time.” A hush engulfed the locker room. “Hey, coach,” Chris Bosh interrupted. “Bynum’s been out for weeks with an injury.”

But according to those in the room, said incident never took place. Imagine that.

Vecsey also lambasted Jeff Van Gundy for something he never said on a telecast about Rafer Alston. The story had a lot of legs, including an interview with Alston’s mother, who was miffed at the piece.

Except Vescey got the whole thing wrong, if you had watched the telecast, that is.

From NY POST March 16th

“IN Jeff Van Gundy’s studied opinion, Rafer Alston was identified during last Sunday’s ABC telecast as being near peerless at the point this season, second only to Chris Paul.

No disrespect to my Queens homie who’s enjoying his most productive and poised extensive stretch of success since being branded Skip To My Lou, but was Van Gundy serious or delirious?

In all likelihood, neither; like many in the media Van Gundy no doubt was trying to draw attention to himself by stating something demi- controversial.”

WRONG! Actually Peter, what Van Gundy said was that “Alston is playing like a top 5 NBA point guard,” meaning that he was performing at an elite level during a stretch that saw the Rockets win 19 straight games. Never did he say Skip was “second to Chris Paul” or “better” than the NBA’s elite. Van Gundy wondered this aloud to Mike Breen and Mark Jackson, who were surprised at the coach’s notion.

“What’s a point guard’s job? To help your team win… who’s doing that better than Rafer Alston right now? Of course he’s not better than Chris Paul or Deron Williams, but he’s PLAYING on that level right now.”

Clearly, Vecsey was mistaken, and has been plenty of times in his career. Again, it’s part of the game.

Finally, and for good measure, should Allan Houston make the team, it will be the biggest comeback since Mr. Vecsey’s hairline.