Well, another trade deadline has passed and it turns out this underachieving team that’s been disappointing me all year will be fully intact for the rest of the season. Then again, it’s a pretty sad indictment of your favorite team when their inability to make a much needed roster move may actually be considered a good thing out of a fear of them doing even more damage to themselves. I think most fans actually feel a sense of relief to be perfectly honest.
I never understood the logic of the New York Knicks installing Steve Mills as GM, but if today is any indication of his shrewd negotiating tactics and power of personal contacts, then I’m not going to hold my breath to see what kind of clout he brings to the table in keeping Melo a Knick. In defense of Mills, he did do the right thing in not dumping Shumpert just to show that he did something.
Talk of a possible deal that nearly sent Shumpert to OKC for a first round pick was intriguing, but not much is known on how serious that was. The simple fact that well respected teams that obviously know what they are doing still showed an interest in a player who’s popularity in New York is fast-fading suggests that their scouts see something in him that the Knicks have overlooked. Its also another sign that Woodson’s notorious aversion to player development has probably been noted around the league.
The Knicks don’t have many options left as far as this season goes. Don’t bother looking at the list of current NBA Free Agents searching for a job, and you can also stop hoping for a new coach anytime soon since the ship has probably already sailed on that one. So where does that leave the Knicks?
Melo has made it pretty clear that his priority is to be in a winning environment, and he seems very sincere in hoping that’s something he can have with the Knicks. Unfortunately, the Knicks are handcuffed from doing anything remarkable until the ghastly contracts of Amar’e, Bargs, and Chandler (nearly $50M in total) are off the books. Pair this with Shumpert’s vanishing value, and the Knicks rightful disinterest in moving Tim Hardaway Jr., and its easy to see that the room for improvement is stifling.
Melo obviously realizes this. Still, his upcoming free agency this summer, if he does in fact opt out, will be one the most crucial moments in modern Knick history since it will be a point where Melo will look to clearly hear from the Knicks’ front office on what exactly their strategic plan for winning a championship is. And this is something Knick fans should appreciate it if you ask me because it will be the most pressure the Knicks will had on them to turn things around since David Stern gift wrapped Donnie Walsh to MSG.
After all that Melo has given the Knicks, its completely fair to step back and evaluate what the Knicks can give back to him. We are old enough to realize that this is a business and players are going to do what’s best for them and their families first before they do what’s best for a super-rich team owner. Each one of us do that in our own professional careers, and there’s no difference here.
The Knicks can do something to show Melo they are serious about producing a winning team though, and its something they can do this summer: For the love of god, find a real coach! A coach that instills confidence in Melo that he can lead a team deep into the playoffs. A coach that inspires players to give it their all every single night. A coach that demands the respect of players, referees, fans, media, and ownership. It’s the only real move the Knicks can make and there is no shortage of big names that fit this criteria. Clearing cap space in 2015 is a give-in, but having the right captain to steer this ship is something that the Knicks can do before they even get to that point. It’s also something other potential free agents will want to see as well.
So while it may seem like there isn’t much the Knicks can do on the roster front this year or next, don’t fret too much over that. The biggest move of the year is something that doesn’t require mastering ESPN’s Trade Machine, it’s something that can just be a phone call away.