When Steve Mills was hired as the president and general manager of the New York Knicks shortly before camp began, the question was often asked of what former GM Glen Grunwald did to lose his job
Now that Mills has been on the job for a few weeks, we are hearing more and more comments coming from him that makes this look like the right move, not only for now, but potentially the future.
I often asked what exactly Mills’ plan would be on the job?
His goal is to preserve cap room for 2015 and make the Knicks a younger team in the process.
That’s all I needed to hear.
Mills told Grantland’s Zach Lowe that one of the reasons the team hired him was because he believed the team should preserve its cap room for the summer of 2015 and focus on developing young players rather than pursue Grunwald‘s strategy of inking aging veterans.
Only Iman Shumpert and Tim Hardaway Jr. are potential pieces of the Knicks future who are under the age of 28.
You can’t continue to add 30-plus old pieces into the mix on one-year deals and expect great results.
The Knicks need to get more athletic and younger for the future, so I was glad to hear that come out of Mills’ mouth.
Then there is the summer of 2015.
The Knicks will have a ton of money coming off their books as there is currently only $290k committed for the 2015-16 season (salaries via Hoopsworld).
Pablo Prigioni’s $1.7 million for that season is non-guaranteed. They will also have to make a qualifying offer to Iman Shumpert ($3.6 million) unless he is signed to an extension beforehand. If C.J. Leslie and Chris Smith find a way to stick around, they will be due qualifying offers as well, both for $1.1 million.
The rest includes player options of Raymond Felton ($3.95 million) and J.R. Smith ($6.4 million) and a $1.3 million team option for rookie Tim Hardaway Jr.
Not only getting rid of Stoudemire’s contract, but every other bad contract should make the Knicks major players in free agency two years from now.
Mills said he is committed to keeping Carmelo Anthony in blue-and-orange, so the chance should be there for him to add not only one, but potentially two impact players to this team.
Waiting around for free agents to come calling in two years is a very risky strategy and it didn’t pay off three years ago, but the Knicks has a chance to do the right thing here and it could pay off in a big way.
Of course plans can get messed up in a two year span, so we will see if Mills will actually be able to pull anything off, but I like the direction and the vision he has for this franchise in the future.
I wasn’t sold on Mills rejoining the organization and I’m still not all the way there.
But I feel better about things now than I did just a month ago.
The Knicks need to get younger, clear out as much money off their books as possible, and add some impact players that can help get this team to the ultimate prize.
Mills sees that.
Now we will see if he can get it done.
Follow Matt Shetler on Twitter for news, reaction and analysis from around the NBA.