The Knicks won their first playoff game in over
a decade this past season, which amounted to a very small step in the right
direction. Now, they are faced with an offseason of hopes, dreams and questions, some of which have already been answered quite badly.
Here's the $64,000 question: Do the
Knicks have what it takes to put together a run with Carmelo
Knicks are +6000 to win the NBA Title in 2013, not much better than
their odds were at the beginning of last season. In fact, I think it might even be a
bit worse. The Knicks didn’t even put up a fight against the Heat in the first
round of the playoffs in 2012, and with basically no cap room and a lot of
injuries, this team might not make it out of the first round again.
the Knicks and Raptors were both trying to pursue Steve Nash, the Lakers came
and pushed them out with a big bet, and now the Knicks are faced with two huge
offers to two key players that they will either have to match or lose their starters.
Jeremy Lin has a $31 million offer on the table from the Houston Rockets, while
Landry Fields got a $20 million offer from the Raptors, which was only to try
and keep Steve Nash away from New York (long story).
In the aftermath, I see no way that the Knicks can let both of these guys
walk. In Lin's case, his marketing value alone will probably make them
match. Even though they just brought in Jason Kidd, he is definitely not a
starter at this point in his career. The Knicks have almost no choice but to
match the offer given to Lin because they already have a depleted backcourt.
In Fields' case, however, I see no way the Knicks match this. It’s actually
good for them because the Raptors overpaid to keep him from being included in
a sign and trade for Nash, and now they will be stuck with paying $6 million a
year to a bench player at best.
Knicks already have $40 million invested in Anthony and Amare Stoudemire next
season - they are $60 million in the books total - and that’s not including
the almost certain match of the Lin deal. I could see them trying to re-sign J.R. Smith, but other that that, their options are limited to minimum contracts. There is no way they can get out of being a luxury tax team this
season and probably for seasons to come.
I have said it before and I will say it again, the Knicks bringing in
Anthony will not win them a title. They gave away scores of talent and draft
picks for one guy to whom they still owe $65MIL. If Stoudemire experiences a renaissance this season and becomes the player he was five years ago, and Lin turns into a
franchise player relative to consistent PER production, then they have a
chance. In all honesty, however, I don’t see them finishing in the top half of the East playoffs, nor do I see them getting out of the first round again. They are locked into some
bad deals and they have already used their amnesty clause. There could be some
painful years ahead of the Knicks.