The upcoming offseason will be the most important moment in New York Knicks history.
The summer of 2019 will be the most important moment in New York Knicks history. Not for the reason of adding a coveted star like Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving but the maturity of the franchise if they strike out. What do they do next? Do they overspend? or be smart and build around the young nucleus?
The Knicks have been a bad franchise for a very long time. They have made the playoffs just once in the last seven years and it has taken them nearly 10 years to get back to this spot, with cap space, young players and a high draft pick. The last time was 2010, the year that changed the NBA, when superstars in their prime were looking to change teams.
In 2010, the Knicks struck-out on getting either Dwyane Wade or LeBron James. The Knicks instead of staying patient, over-spent on Amar’e Stoudemire, who was injury-prone and traded for Carmelo Anthony, which cost them all their young talent ala Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler. The combination of ‘Melo and Amar’e, had very little success in their tenure with the Knicks, never making a conference finals and those two poor decisions, caused a domino effect of more bad decisions. It comes back to management thinking they needed to make a splash, instead of making basketball-sound decisions. This has been the biggest issue that Knick fans have had.
Playing Devil’s Advocate, what if neither Durant or Irving come, what’s next? What if the Knicks get the No. 2 or No. 3 pick and don’t land Zion Williamson? What do they do with the pick? Who do they draft? These scenarios are very possible. Like 2010, there are still a bunch of second-tier stars like a Jimmy Butler, Kemba Walker, Tobias Harris, Klay Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins. None are franchise changing talent but more as complementary pieces. Do the Knicks make the same mistakes and overspend?
The hope is that the Knicks have learned their lessons. It is very obvious the three guys to spend the max on are Irving, Durant and Kawhi Leonard. Everyone else are only worth signing as secondary pieces. There will always be opportunities to sign stars every year. Your nucleus of Dennis Smith Jr, Frank Ntilikina, Mitchell Robinson, Damyean Dotson, Allonzo Trier and Kevin Knox plus the draft pick are all good things to have as a young team. You can be bad for another year, add another pick and again try to lure a superstar to New York.
It’s not the end of the world if the New York Knicks don’t land a Durant or Irving. It will be the end of the world if they use that money and over-spend on another player, just like in 2010. For this reason, this summer is the most important in Knick history because we will get to see if the front office has learned its lessons, be patient and not try to make a splash just to be relevant if they strike-out on Durant or Irving.