Today In Local Sports Coverage: Have You Heard the One About the Knicks Defense?

Well, the Eddy Curry Redemption didn’t last long. The papers are back to burying him today, after he left the Knicks first scrimmage with a strained right calf.  As predictable as Saratoga being the Mecca of horse racing every August,” read the Post lead; the Daily News went with the blander hed: “Same Old Story.”

In fact, the story had a slightly different twist yesterday, because Curry associate William Wesley–of whom GQ once asked “Is This the Most Powerful Man in Sports?“–made an appearance at the first practice. Wesley, ostensibly a mortgage broker, is a shadowy rainmaker in the world of sports, a guy who makes a habit of befriending young high schoolers who happen to be good at sports and then staying in their inner circle as they blossom into professional success.

One of his closest “friends” happens to be LeBron James, though Wesley insisted that his visit to Saratoga had nothing to do with the team’s intense interest in signing James to a mammoth contract next summer. And apparently, “Worldwide Wes” is a very funny man.  But Frank Isola isn’t buying it:

Of course, everything the Knicks do is about LeBron. Sometimes they go overboard; one of Walsh’s assistants, Jamie Matthews, didn’t let Wesley out of his sight and was almost sitting on his lap during yesterday’s practice. If Wesley cracks a joke, everyone seated within five feet of him, as if on cue, begins to laugh. Wesley may be funny. But he’s not that funny.

Knicks Coach Mike D’Antoni did something funny yesterday by opening training camp with defensive drills. Isola said reporters were “nearly floored.” But seriously, what does this have to do with LeBron? Isolda is on it:

Coincidentally, during LeBron’s first visit to the Garden last season he stressed that defense is the key to winning a championship.

All roads lead to LeBron.

Meanwhile, Bobby Valentine is headed back stateside for an ESPN gig, after a seven-year exile in Japan. On a conference call with reporters, the former Mets manager said this lost Mets season has been a tragedy. “I followed it from afar, and I have some friends there that I’ve shared tears with because I think it’s been a tragedy,” Valentine said. Later in the Post story, Valentine admits he “wasn’t a day-by-day follower.”

The papers played it up as if Bobby V. might come back to manage the Mets even though his quotes on the matter are decidedly neutral. But it’s an easy angle when the team just lost to the very worst team in baseball because of a throwing error in the 8th inning.

Also: “The Yankees are set to announce Wednesday they will sponsor a postseason college bowl to be played at the new Yankee Stadium with a seating capacity of 47,000 beginning in the 2010 season, the Daily News has learned.” Now, I’m not sure how the Daily News learned it, but I know Eliot Brown got this press release sometime in the afternoon yesterday, because I went over to his desk to look at it. In any case, we should all learn a little more about who’s playing in this game when they have a press conference later this morning.


Today In Local Sports Coverage: Have You Heard the One About the Knicks Defense?