Well, in the words of the great Ron Burgandy- boy, that escalated quickly.
In a week the Boston Celtics shipped their coach out to LA to join the Clippers and then rumors started and then turned out to be a true about a possible trade between the Brooklyn Nets and the Celtics that sent Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Nets.
Fresh off losing to Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer, Jimmy Butler, and a bunch of reserve players in seven games, the Nets have revamped their team to clearly win now. This team is currently constituted to win in these next two years and then unload some cap room and see where they’re at then.
The Knicks, the other win now team in New York, went from near unanimous favorites to repeat as Atlantic Division Champs to near unanimous picks to finish in second in the division and fourth or fifth in the conference.
How can the Knicks counter this trade and more importantly should they?
The Knicks are not really in a position to make many moves. They have exactly two trade chips that they could be willing to move, Iman Shumpert and Tyson Chandler, and if they traded both of them and didn’t receive a 26 year old Bill Russell in return their defense would likely become one giant turn style.
There have been rumors circulating of Chandler being sent out to Minnesota for Derrick Williams and Luke Ridnour. I don’t really understand this trade from a Knicks standpoint. Williams isn’t very good and plays basically the same position as Carmelo Anthony and Ridnour is a worse defender than Raymond Felton. Luckily for Knicks fans Hoopshype.com has said the rumor has no legs.
It is difficult to envision a trade that the Knicks can make to match the Nets one in the short term. They don’t have the expiring contracts or as many draft picks (specifically one in next year’s draft, more on that later) to offer.
In free agency the Knicks’s hopes are not much better. Because they’re in the luxury tax, the Knicks have $3 million in spending money starting July 1st. The Knicks may be focused on using that money to keep Chris Copeland and Pablo Prigioni (The Knicks have Early Bird Rights on J.R. Smith so they can spend a little more on him).
Most free agents that could help the Knicks are too expensive and the ones that are cheap enough to come aren’t very helpful. That’s where the Knicks are at with their salary cap situation. Unless half the team retires in the next two to three days there is not much the Knicks can do.
The last option is to have a little more patience.
As many NBA media outlets have said, the 2014 draft will be one of the best ones in the last 10-15 years. It will be headed by Andrew Wiggins, who recently decided on being a Kansas Jayhawk and is loaded with depth from both foreign players and young players entering college this upcoming year.
The Knicks famously trade away tons of their draft picks and have an abysmal draft record when they keep them. The Knicks first round draft pick in next year’s draft was traded in the Anthony trade. The price for one of these picks may be around $3 million, the same $3 million the Knicks have in free agency. In a draft this deep teams may be in a unique position to be outside the top 10 and still draft a player that can both help them now and build for the future.
There will also be teams looking to trade out of the first round in an effort to clear cap space for upcoming free agents (like a certain four time MVP in Miami) making it very possible for the Knicks to find a seller. Re-signing the 27 year old Copeland or going after other veterans at the end of their careers may not be as wise as getting in on this action.
The Nets jumped into the win now pool with both feet with this trade. It is hard to argue they will finish in the top three of the Eastern Conference in the upcoming season.
The Knicks are in a position where they need to get younger and better as quickly as possible. While doing nothing to the current roster may spell an almost certain first or second round exit in the playoffs next year (Was their ceiling really higher if they bottom fed on free agents?) it would allow them to try and rebuild their team while remaining competitive.
We are talking about the Knicks and the draft though so always expect the unexpected.