Players Lost: Jeremy Lin (Rockets) Landry Fields (Raptors) Toney Douglas (Rockets) Josh Harrelson (Rockets) Dan Gadzuric (Blazers) Jerome Jordan (Rockets) Jared Jeffries (Blazers) Kostas Papanikolaou (Blazers) Giorgos Printezis (Blazers)
The Knicks have probably had the most media coverage this off-season so far, and we all know why. From the time in which Jeremy Lin first became a restricted free agent to the day where he was officially a Houston Rocket, the Knicks were in the spotlight. With all of the attention they got for the loss of Lin, how well were they actually graded for their off-season work thus far? Is Lin going to be a good player? Yes, he most likely will be very good; but was he worth 25 million to the Knicks is another question. Losing Lin is by no means a good basketball move for the Knicks, especially considering the fact that it is just money lost. They could only use that type of money on Lin and decided to just let it go for nothing. He would have been an affordable player for the first two years of his contract and would have only been a burden on their luxury tax for one year; and even at that there were ways the Knicks could have avoided financial destruction from Lin’s back-loaded contract. But we don’t want to spend too much time evaluating one move by the Knicks, we’re merely evaluating teams on their current value. The Knicks lost another handful of players outside of Lin; Landry Fields will be making more money than Ray Allen and Jason Terry (other FA SG’s on the market this off-season) which is crazy, the Knicks had to let him go. They also traded away Douglas, Harrelson, Gadzuric, Jordan, Jeffries and two rookies who never played for the Knicks in Papanikolaou and Printezis.
That is a lot of players gone, so it is going to be another off-season for the Knicks where they need to incorporate a huge slew of players into the mix. This is never a good thing, fortunately this season they will have a few months to do so.
1-10 Players Lost Score: 6
Players Obtained: Ronnie Brewer (Bulls) Chris Copeland, Jason Kidd (Mavs), James White, Marcus Camby (Rockets) Raymond Felton (Blazers) Kurt Thomas (Blazers) Pablo Prigioni (Saski Baskonia) Chris Smith
The Knicks grew up this off-season. Meaning, they got a lot older. They have been ripped apart for going after players like Marcus Camby, Jason Kidd, Kurt Thomas and Pablo Prigioni. But people aren’t giving the Knicks any credit for what they’ve done with limited financial flexibility this off-season. Camby and Kidd will play significant minutes for the Knicks this year, but neither will be anywhere near their career average for minutes per game. This should result in a more consistent and injury-free season for Kidd and Camby. Camby could still be a starter on a team and playing behind Tyson Chandler should prove to be one of the most imposing big man duos in the game. Kidd essentially replaces Baron Davis and Mike Bibby; and assuming Felton plays well and doesn’t lose the job, Kidd will just need to stay healthy and provide steady backup minutes. Felton seems rather motivated to quiet people who are questioning whether or not he can return to his level of play that Knick fans once knew, and this could be just as valuable for Felton as it could be for Stoudemire. But perhaps the most underrated and intriguing signing the Knicks have had thus far is the signing of Ronnie Brewer for the veterans minimum. Brewer will help fill-in for the loss of Shumpert, and with the loss of the neophyte until sometime after Christmas, Brewer should step into either the starting two-guard or 6th man role (Smith and Brewer will compete for these two positions) and should provide something the Knicks don’t often have, a defensive minded wing player who will be able to guard players like Kobe and Lebron. Prigioni and Kurt Thomas will be 3rd stringers who should see a few minutes per game; but if injuries occur to either Camby or Kidd, the Knicks will have players ready to step in. James White is an interesting player who could surprise a lot of people this year; expect him to get a chance to prove himself. Copeland and Smith might not make the team, but are both worthy of end-of-the-bench roles.
1-10 Players Obtained Score: 9
Short Term Outlook: The Knicks fan base has been waiting a long time for their team to be relevant. For the past two seasons, they have been just that and nothing more. This year things could be different though. They have a more well-rounded coach who fits better with the current set of players on the team and they will now have an entire off-season to properly gel and become accustomed to one another. Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire will need to learn how to benefit from one another the way Wade and James have done down in Miami. The Knicks have a deep team and will need everyone to play at their best. The Knicks have the defensive player of the year in Tyson Chandler and a backup who has twice earned that honor. They have a point guard in Raymond Felton who is two years removed from all-star relevance playing alongside his go-to man in Stoudemire. Backing up Felton is a future hall of fame point guard in Jason Kidd and an ageless Argentinian point guard in Prigioni. They will have a trio of two-guards to work with in Shumpert, JR Smith and Ronnie Brewer who will all be fighting for starting minutes. They have a sharp shooter in Steve Novak who was just rewarded with a big contract and will need to continue to be the leagues best three point shooter. The Knicks have no excuses not to fight for the Atlantic Division and they could climb as high as the two-seed which might finally result in a 1st round playoff win. It should be an exciting year for the Knicks.
1-10 Short Term Outlook Score: 9
Long Term Outlook: The Knicks long term outlook is more or less the same as the short term outlook. With little-to-no wiggle room financially speaking over the next few years and having moved several of their draft picks, this team will look the same for the next 2 or 3 years. This could be precisely what the Knicks need. When was the last time the Knicks held onto the same group of players for more than 2 seasons? Over the next few years, Carmelo Anthony and Amare will get more and more in sync with each other and will also learn how to involve other up-and-coming players into the game. One player who could have a tremendous impact on the Knicks long term outlook is Iman Shumpert. Shumpert is coming off a terrible knee injury in the playoffs and won’t return until January at the earliest. However, Shumpert is only 21 and the Knicks are hoping he returns to full strength. He has the skill-set to become an elite player in this league, both defensively and offensively. Brewer and Smith may not be on the team after this season, so Shumpert could very well be the starting shooting guard for years to come for the Knicks. Yes the Knicks are old, but the core group is still very young. The Knicks can’t get any worse than they were last year; so for that, the Knicks should be just fine for years to come.
1-10 Long Term Outlook Score: 9
State of the Organization Index: 33 out of 40
For more insight on the current state of the Knicks, please read a recent Grapevine article here.
Up Next- State of the Organization: Atlanta Hawks