As the road to the playoffs crumbles in front of the New York Knicks, the rubble reveals a long and arduous off-season for the team who has no choice but to look ahead. With the future of Carmelo Anthony still unsure, and the lack luster performance by the team as a whole, the Knicks have been one of the most disappointing teams of the season. With the team going 54-28 and capturing the Atlantic Division last year, this season has been a different team altogether. The team is way below .500 and although an eighth seed playoff spot is possible, the chances of that currently happening is improbable at best.
With the hiring of Phil Jackson as the president of basketball operations, the Knicks hope to re-energize the team that was considered a conference championship contender the season prior. With championship roots cemented during his playing days, the zen master has some work to do as soon as the regular season is over. With the focus being on whether Carmelo Anthony will be re-signing with the team, or going to play somewhere else, the cap space will need to be addressed if any future moves are to be made. The idea of allowing Anthony to walk after this off-season does not seem to appeal to many media members who believe the New York Knicks should do whatever it takes to keep Melo and not look ahead for alternate solutions. If Phil Jackson wants to build a team around Carmelo, it will be difficult to find the role players that would not only compliment Anthony’s skill set, but also be able to pick up the defensive slack.
If Carmelo was to be let go, Phil Jackson might just keep the team the way it is with an addition of a point guard from free agency. The salary cap for New York will no longer be over the limit, and will allow them to make big moves in the 2015 free agency market. This will also allow the Knicks to be able to keep Tyson Chandler, a severely underrated defensive center, and allow the team to be free from Amar’e Stoudemire’s mistake of a contract. If the New York franchise could survive what looks to become a brutal 2014 season, the team can have a chance in landing that key player that can potentially turn the franchise around.
Despite rumors of firings and releases, New York Knicks coach Mike Woodson has been doing his best to keep the team afloat. Larry Brown was vocal early this week about his displeasure in the manner Woodson is being treated by the media. Brown reiterates many times about Woodson being able to turn the franchise around in two seasons. Brown also blames the poor performance of the team to the releases of Kurt Thomas, Rasheed Wallace, and the retirement of Jason Kidd. While the Knicks were able to posses the eight seed in the eastern conference, a losing streak that followed after claiming the spot has slid the team almost out of contention for the playoffs. It is looking more and more likely that the New York Knicks will soon focus on the off-season, and begin planning for their future.
Commentary by Hector Carrion