The New York Knicks ended up a disappointment in 2013, but according to point guard Raymond Felton, this Knicks team can win a championship.
No matter how foolish Felton sounded after watching the Knicks get outmuscled and outclassed by the Indiana Pacers, it make you wonder what exactly Glen Grunwald’s plan is if Felton is wrong?
After last season’s spending spree on past their prime veterans, Iman Shumpert (22) is still the only player on the Knicks roster currently under the age of 27.
May 16, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) reacts on the court against the Indiana Pacers during the first half in game five of the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports
One thing that is abundantly clear is that the Knicks must get younger and more athletic, but how they are going to accomplish that is a mystery.
They can’t build through the draft in the near future.
After selecting No. 24 overall in this draft, the Knicks don’t have another draft pick until the second round of the 2016 draft. Judging by that fact, adding enough talent through the draft really isn’t an option until 2017.
Then there is the fact that the Knicks are so far over the luxury tax that they can’t add enough talent to this team in the near future to contend.
Per league rules, they can’t acquire a major free agent through a sign-and-trade, so let’s forget that thought for the time being.
Free agency won’t be an effective strategy either. Not as long as Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Amar’e Stoudemire’s contracts take up pretty much the entire salary cap.
Improving an old and not very athletic team using only their $3 million mini mid-level exception and a slew of veteran minimum contracts won’t help this team improve nearly enough.
That leads us to Grunwald’s final option and that’s a normal trade.
However that won’t help much either. Shumpert is the only real trade chip the Knicks have and he’s not likely to go anywhere. Some may think that Chandler is a viable trade option, but the Knicks would have to take back equal money in any deal, so that doesn’t really help their situation much either.
That means there aren’t many options in the next couple of seasons for Grunwald to improve a team that clearly has a lot of holes.
So again, I ask what exactly is the plan here?
The Knicks best option to seriously improve likely won’t come until the 2015-16 season.
They have seven players taking up over $70 million in cap space already this season and seven contracts taking up over $73 million already for the 2014-15 season.
But after that, Stoudemire, Chandler and Anthony come off the books and the Knicks have only $8 million tied up to three players (Felton, Shumpert and Steve Novak). Its likely Anthony isn’t going anywhere and the Knicks will be able to start getting younger the season after (2017). Add to that some cap flexibility for the first time in a long time and the Knicks should be able to hopefully attempt to rebuild this franchise into a legitimate title contender and not an above average NBA team.
However it’s going to be a long wait in New York.
This current Knicks team isn’t any closer to a championship than they have been in recent memory. They simply have too many holes to fill and not enough resources to fill them.
Unless they get lucky and someone foolishly takes some bad contracts off of their hands, things are going to likely stay the same and not get better anytime soon.
Circle the year 2016.
That’s hopefully when this team will be constructed well enough to seriously contend for a title.
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