After a very disappointing season in 2021-22, some fans called for the New York Knicks to tear it down. While I don’t believe that is the way to handle things, this question needs to be asked: What if the Knicks disappoint again this season?
Personally, I don’t see that happening, as the team made some major improvements with the signings of Jalen Brunson and Isaiah Hartenstein. However, it also seemed like New York made massive improvements before last season, and look at how things turned out.
As unlikely as it may be, the possibility still lingers. With that in mind, the Knicks front office must come up with a plan of action in case this fear becomes a reality.
Here is what could happen if the Knicks have another poor season
Fire Tom Thibodeau halfway through the season
If the Knicks enter the halfway point of the season well under .500, I believe they must fire head coach Tom Thibodeau. Last season, Thibodeau came under fire when New York began to play poorly, with many fans citing his weak offensive scheme, bad rotations, and overall lack of success.
While there is certainly some truth to Thibodeau being the reason for the Knicks’ lack of success, some of it was exaggerated. You cannot really blame the head coach for the poor play of veterans like Julius Randle, Kemba Walker, and Evan Fournier.
However, the part about Thibodeau’s poor rotations and lack of a good offensive scheme are absolutely true and he should absolutely be blamed for it.
If the Knicks play poorly next season and decide to tank and trade away some of the veterans to free up room for young players, I will believe that Thibodeau would not be the coach for the future. Not only do I doubt that Thibodeau would want to coach a tanking team, but he just simply isn’t the best coach to have for developing young talent.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m higher on Thibodeau as a coach than most. However, I understand that if New York decides to stay away from contending that Thibodeau would not be the coach for the team.
Trade away veterans for future assets and enter the Wembanyama/Henderson sweepstakes
In the scenario in which the Knicks decide to go full tank mode and fire Tom Thibodeau, they must prioritize player development, thus meaning that veterans like Julius Randle, Evan Fournier, Derrick Rose, and potentially Isaiah Hartenstein could go to free up minutes for young players.
While it is unlikely that New York could get a first-round pick in return for any of these veterans, unless they play at a much higher level than last season, the team could potentially get young players who are an afterthought on other teams that could help to turn things around.
Trust me, I know fans don’t want to see another season, or multiple seasons, of losing. However, with the amount of talented young players the Knicks have, we could see them turn things around quickly without Thibodeau or the veterans.
Freeing up minutes for players like Miles McBride, Quentin Grimes, Jericho Sims, and Cam Reddish could do wonders for their development, let alone players who already get guaranteed minutes and could see an increase, like Immanuel Quickley and Obi Toppin.
Obviously tanking would not be the best for the image of the team. However, with some of the prospects available in next year’s draft class, it could absolutely be worth the struggle, with players like Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson being at the top of the class.
Both Wembanyama and Henderson, especially Wembanyama, are seen as generational prospects who have the capabilities of being some of the best players the league has ever seen. If the Knicks can get their hands on either of them, the rebuild would likely be shortened and we could see success soon.
Don’t get me wrong, every single part of this is a hypothetical that likely won’t happen. However, as I mentioned, if this fear becomes reality, the front office is going to need a plan to get the team through the next couple of years.