“They never should have re-signed Carmelo Anthony!”
You hear that now when you talk about the Knicks.They are a dreadful watch. They are the worst team in the NBA.
Phil Jackson thought this would be a playoff team, which is stunning to think now. Jackson told Harvey Araton of the New York Times, “so far, my experiment has fallen flat on its face.”
When you watch former Knicks like Tyson Chandler (Mavericks), JR Smith and Iman Shumpert (Cavs) thriving in other places, it adds insult to injury.
Jackson has made bad trades and is learning on the job just like his head coach Derek Fisher is. The problem you have now is, what are the options moving forward?
The Knicks have a star player in Anthony, who finally had knee surgery is now out for the next four-to-six months. He will turn 31-years-old and is in the first year of a new five year contract. He played 40 games this season and played through pain. However, he clearly put more importance on an All-Star Game then he did playing in the regular season.
The perception of Anthony, is that he cares more about “getting his” than getting wins.He is a ball-stopper and a high-volume shooter, but has never made players around him better and is not a great all-around player.He is a great scorer, no more, no less. The problem for Jackson moving forward is the need to build around Anthony moving forward. They will have a high draft choice come June and should bring in a young college star that will need time to grow and mature as an NBA player. That pick absolutely needs to be a home run for Jackson.
So now you have two pieces, in Anthony and the pick, in trying to build a winner.
What’s after that?
Two players that the Knicks were reportedly interested in, Reggie Jackson and Goran Dragic, were both traded at the NBA trade deadline and are both expected to sign long-term deals with their new teams, the Pistons and Heat.With LaMarcus Aldridge and Marc Gasol expected to sign extensions with their current teams, where do you go from there?
Greg Monroe? Jimmy Butler? DeAndre Jordan?
The road is not an easy one for Jackson.They have money to spend. Not only must he hit on their first round draft choice, but they must also make the right investment in the right player.
The Knicks have long been a win-now team. They went down that path when James Dolan hired Jackson and paid him $12 million a year. They have been ever since they brought back Carmelo Anthony and gave him a new five-year contract.
I can’t hear about draft choices or Kevin Durant in 2016, when I have a 30-something scorer who is the face of my franchise and continues to break down.
Patience is often something that is easier said than done, especially here in New York.It is easy for the Garden to preach patience now, because – simply - there is nothing else to preach.However, patience rings hollow after Anthony was brought back. You can’t look back and say they should have never re-signed Anthony. He is here. Signed, sealed, and delivered, and it is now up to Jackson to figure out what to do next.