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#KnicksState: Part Two - Rational Look Forward


Where do the New York Knicks go from here? We've already heard the rants, raves, opinions, and pessimistic views on the future outlook for team blue and orange. We've also heard the crazy demands from some who are simply insane in their fandom. Let's put this out there right now, the Knicks are not getting Chris Paul. I know crazy things can happen, but the odds of that happening are probably lower than the Knicks winning a championship next year. 

So really, where do we go from here? When this team was constructed by General Manager Glen Grunwald, the idea was for a three-year window of making a run towards a championship. After year one, it seems like the other two aren't as promising. From aging bodies, lack of team chemistry, limited flexibility in cap space, and other teams either gaining returning superstars (Derrick Rose and Danny Granger) or simply getting better (Nets, and Raptors), Knicks fans are worried. Some irate. Some already pushing the red button to blow it all up. 

So let's all take a step away from the ledge, take a deep breath, and rationally look at the Knicks future.


Before anything - ANYTHING - can be done, taking a look at the Knicks commitments for the future is imperative to deciding what can be done to improve our Knickerbockers. Here is what the next few years look like. 

(Credit: www.basketballreference.com)
Click to Enlarge

There are a few things that we can take away from those financials with the main point being that there isn't much flexibility going forward. Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, and Amar'e Stoudemire make up the majority of the team's cap space. Because of this, creativity, intense scouting, and a whole lot of luck will be needed to round out the roster. 

The other things we can take away are as such: 
  • Carmelo's Early Termination Option is something that is a bit scary. Would he leave? 
  • The future of Jason Kidd and Marcus Camby will be huge to what the Knicks will be able to do. No one expects them to finish their three year deals signed last summer, but when they decide to hang it up will play a role in what can be done. 
  • Steve Novak's deal seemed like a nice fit last year. However, the jury seems to be out on Novak and many teams are pressuring up on him, and as we all know, if you're withing three feet of Novak, he will not shoot. Still too early to be considered a "bad" deal, but it's headed there. 
  • A point can be made that the Knicks have themselves a huge bargain in Raymond Felton. Especially, considering what it would have cost to keep Jeremy Lin around. 
  • The Knicks biggest cheerleader, James White, has a non-guaranteed deal for next year. The Knicks could decide to not pick it up and attempt to sign White to the veterans minimum (Maybe he'll actually play next year), or decide to let him go altogether.
  • The big decision on JR Smith. Will the Knicks use their Bird Rights to bring him back on a better deal. Something like four years, $5M per year. 
  • What will Chris Copeland demand? 
  • Will Pablo Prigioni return? 
  • Heck, Mike Bibby and Baron Davis still count against the cap? Ugh! 
  • And finally, how the heck can the Knicks fill up to six spots with such limited cap space? 

Spending Moolah
Based on the limited cap room, the Knicks have the following options: 
  • Resign J.R. Smith up to $5.58M due to holding Early Bird Rights on his deal. 
  • They have a mini-mid level exception up to $3.18M for another addition. (Who they use this on will be very important). 
  • Sign their first-round pick (24th Overall) to the structured rookie contract based upon that selection's slot. And yes, the Knicks have their first-round pick. Apparently Isiah Thomas figured 2013 was the year we could stop paying for Eddy Curry. 
  • Of course, signing guys to the veterans minimum deal. Or in this case, trying to convince great players to take less to play here. Or in other words, trying to find some suckers who are really good at basketball. 
  • And of course, more options come available if Jason Kidd and Marcus Camby decide to call it a career (Knicks gain full midlevel exception of $5.15M and biannual exception of $2.2M). In my honest opinion, I don't see that happening this year. Unfortunately. 

Tell Me Whatcha Want, Tell Me Watcha Need

1 and half superstars? 

As stated before, Knicks fans need to forget about Dwight Howard and Chris Paul. They are not coming here. And if they do, Glen Grunwald should be given the award for executive of the year for the next two years! And heck, I'll put him in the DP Page of Fame. What would be more incredible than doing that? 

Regardless, Grunwald surely is aware that the Knicks needs range in ability and chance to meet them. We'll call those needs on a range of "easy", "practical", "a bit of a stretch", or "good luck". The following are some of those obvious needs to chase that elusive 3rd franchise title, and most importantly, the first one in 41 years. 

The Knicks need a robin to Carmelo's Batman. Someone that can make JR Smith a 3rd option in the offense. Grade: Good Luck. 

I'm not sure how we'll find that person, and if we did, how we'd get that person in a New York Knicks uniform. Maybe Shumpert grows into that role? The best way is to strike gold and draft someone that turns out to be that guy. 

The Knicks need size, more specifically a banger power forward that can rebound the ball and alleviate some of the pressure on Tyson Chandler. Grade: Practical

I'm a firm believe every NBA team needs a Reggie Evans or Tyler Hansborough type that has an endless motor, bangs down low, does the dirty work, and of course, uses all six of their fouls. The Knicks need that . And if they can score as well, that's a plus. Another tough find, but we're not asking for a Kevin Garnett in his prime, just another big to really help Chandler. 

The Knicks need a shooting guard. Grade: Practical

In my honest opinion, the Knicks have needed a two-guard since Allan Houston decided to hang it up. A scoring guard can really help to make things easier on Carmelo as well as stretch the floor in times when the team goes small. Iman Shumpert is the best chance of meeting this void. 

The Knicks need athletic wing players. Grade: Practical

This kind of ties into the needs above. The Knicks lack athleticism, and have become basic in their approach - Carmelo scoring or knocking down the three ball. Athletic wings in an up-tempo offense, or even a half-court style with back cuts on Melo isolation play can really help this team. Plus, athletic wings can help on the defensive end, especially dealing with guys like LeBron James, Paul George, and Joe Johnson in the Eastern Conference. 

The Knicks need a backup point guard. Grade: Practical

If Prigioni leaves, the Knicks will definitely need a young guard or even a seasoned guard (Under 30, please!) that can help spell Raymond Felton, as well as keep Jason Kidd from logging more than fifteen minutes a night. Maybe a Sebastian Telfair?

The Knicks need Amar'e Stoudemire to return to being a superstar. Grade: A Bit of a Stretch

There isn't much to explain here. If Amar'e can stay healthy and return to being that guy he was for this franchise in those several months before Carmelo Anthony arrived, it would go along way in solving many of the issues on this team. 

The Knicks need to get younger. Grade: Easy

After being the oldest team in the history of the NBA, it can't be too hard to get younger, right? 


We Want You! 

Future New York Knickerbocker?

I've always been a junky for the NBA Draft. Especially over the past ten years when the Knicks were finishing in the lottery...until you know, we decided to trade our entire future for Eddy Curry. I gotta let that go. 

This year's draft doesn't look very spectacular. In fact, it seems rather weak. Nonetheless, after watching the NCAA tournament and continuing to do my homework on guys that may fall into the Knicks wheelhouse (who own the 24th overall pick), there are a few names to keep an eye on come June 27th. 

Also, with a few teams looking to rid themselves of picks such as the Mavericks and Suns, this would be a creative way to add more youth and potential bodies to the roster. 

The following are my short list of potential draftees (draft profile linked) for the Knicks:

1. Gorgui Dieng - Louisville - Center - 6'11" - 230lbs
2. Glen Rice Jr. - Rio Grande Valley (NBDL) - Small Forward - 6'6" - 210lbs
3. Lorenzo Brown - North Carolina State - Point Guard - 6'5" - 189lbs
4. Jeff Withey - Kansas - Center - 7'0" - Center - 222lbs
5. Dario Saric - Cibona Zagreb - Small Forward - 6'10" - 223lbs
6. Reggie Bullock - North Carolina - Small Forward - 6'7" - 200lbs
7. Shane Larkin - Miami - Point Guard - 5'11" - 171lbs
8. Steven Adams - Pittsburgh - Center - 7'0" - 255lbs
9. Jamaal Franklin - San Diego State - Shooting Guard - 6'5" - 191lbs

and finally...


Window Shopping...and Maybe We'll buy Something

Future Teammates? 

As stated above several times, there isn't much the Knicks can do roster-wise with the limited cap flexibility that they have.  Here are a few names on the free agent list that the Knicks should kick the tires on acquiring. And no, Chris Paul and Dwight Howard will not be on this list.
  1. DaJuan Blair - Great rebounder and solid power forward that can help Knicks toughness.
  2. Kyle Korver - Big fan of Korver. Always competes, plays hard, and is a great shooter. 
  3. J.J. Reddick - At this point, a solid veteran who can help the Knicks spread the floor and make plays outside of the hands of Carmelo Anthony
  4. Jarrett Jack - He always kills us. Would be nice to have him help us do the same to other teams for a change. 
  5. Tony Allen - Tremendous defender. 
  6. Randy Foye - I was interested in acquiring him last year, but the Knicks decided Kidd and Camby were a better option. No comment on that.
  7. Elton Brand - Brand is a smart vet that can rebound and shoot the rock from mid-range. Doesn't get us younger as noted above, but does add to the front court depth. 
  8. Byron Mullens - I'm a big fan of Mullens, who is slowly growing into a solid center. Would be nice to pry him away with a qualifying offer from the Bobcats.
  9. Sebastian Telfair - Telfair really has grown up as a person and has grown into a solid backup point guard. Maybe a homecoming for another point guard won't turn out as bad as the first one. 
These obviously are not superstar names, but solid names that could add depth and needs for the Knicks within the confines of what they can do. 

The future of the Knicks is one that is on the line with this off-season. With the window very limited to contend for a championship due to Carmelo's prime years and the same for others such as Tyson Chandler, the time to capitalize on the roster is now. The next few months should be very, very interesting. 

*In the final part of this #KnicksState series, we'll examine one of the most interesting topics in sports today - Carmelo Anthony. Looking forward to it. 

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