It’s been a long time since the New York Knicks have been relevant, aside from their 2012-13 season. Ever since the 1998-99 season where the Knicks lost in the finals as the eighth seed, the franchise has become a rotating door for players, coaches and front office staff.
There’s a good feeling about this New York Knicks regime and the moves over the offseason. All of their answers to the media have been encouraging to say the least. For the first time in a long time, the Knicks will reportedly not use their draft picks as trade bait.
As most fans would like to forget, New York’s past rebuilding processes have occurred with an absence of draft picks stemming from the Carmelo Anthony trade, and embarrassingly the Andrea Bargnani trade. Trading for a 29-year old Jimmy Butler seems like a move in the wrong direction, especially when he becomes a free agent next season.
It could be said that Butler’s value on the court, even at this age, is worth more than Anthony’s when the Knicks traded for him. It seems like a risk the Knicks do not need to take, as they would be better off keeping their young talent and their future picks (likely another lottery pick next season).
Being a Knicks fan requires a lot of anxiety and frustration, but time and patience is key for Scott Perry and Steve Mills as they look to please their fans at the same time. While they are still recovering from the fallout of Phil Jackson with Joakim Noah‘s contract, they cannot treat next season as their time to win now.
It is still a possibility that neither Kyrie Irving or Butler team with Kristaps Porzingis and company, which is why the Knicks need these future picks and current neophytes like Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson. So there finally seems to be a solid foundation to further the rebuild.
Another risk taken may take us a step forward, but may also lead to another revolving door of players and administration. I would rather wait to see Knox develop into a leader for the Knicks, or Robinson and Porzingis compete with each other for NBA Defensive Player of the Year honors, than to roll the dice on a 29-year old who will want a long-term max deal or something close.
Player development and strong coaching will need to be interchangeable for the next few seasons to come. There have been too many cases where Knicks’ moves are applauded, including the David Fizdale hiring.
But just like the Fizdale hiring, there were applauded aspects of the Carmelo Anthony trade and even the Phil Jackson hiring. I remain optimistic for this team, but at the same realistic expectations are necessary, and Butler does not seem to be the answer if it means trading away part of New York’s future.
If Butler wishes to join the team in free agency, the New York Knicks should try their best to sign him, but Irving should take priority over the all-star guard. It is still uncertain whether the two all-star guards will play separately, which remains an important factor for next offseason’s free agency pool.