(Reuters) - The NBA's New York Knicks have become so wretched that the city's most prominent newspaper, the New York Times, says it is taking its writer off the beat temporarily and soliciting suggestions from readers on where he can "see the game played at a higher level."
The Knicks, who have not won an NBA title since 1973, have stumbled to the worst record in the league at 5-32 in the first season with Phil Jackson, a winner of a record 11 titles as a head coach, as club president.
In a move that freed up salary cap space, the Knicks appeared to wave the white flag on the season on Monday night by trading away veterans J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert.
Even with seven-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony, who has battled injuries, the Knicks now have a roster that "might struggle against an N.B.A. Development League team," the Times said on Tuesday on its website.
"So we feel it’s only merciful to give our Knicks beat writer, Scott Cacciola, a break from such woeful basketball," the newspaper said.
"He deserves to see the game played at a higher level. For the next month or so, we would like to point him to some good, quality basketball, wherever it might exist. Any suggestions?"
The newspaper offered some hints to its readers.
"Maybe there's another N.B.A. team that warrants his attention, or perhaps a high school or a college squad," the Times said.
"For that matter, maybe you know of a strong coed team at your local Y that Scott should write about. Tell us where to send him."
The Knicks, once one of the National Basketball Association's marquee franchises, also waived center Samuel Dalembert on Monday night, a move that will save $3.8 million.
In all, the moves to jettison Shumpert, Smith and Dalembert will save the team more than $20 million in salary and luxury taxes.
(Reporting by Steve Ginsburg; Editing by Will Dunham)