While New York Knicks fans everywhere are excited over their potential savior in Phil Jackson, the reality of the situation is that Knicks fans must once again be patient as there really isn’t much Jackson can do to help this franchise succeed next season.
The 2014-15 season looks to be another long and difficult one for the Knicks as their current cap, draft, and roster situation offers little flexibility for anyone, even the Zen Master to work his magic.
The Knicks still don’t have a first round draft pick and are way over the salary cap for next season, so adding to an aging, injury prone roster is not likely. There still aren’t any valuable trade chips for Jackson to move, so the 2014-15 season looks to be one that will be based more on evaluating for the summer of 2015 instead of contending next year.
There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as Jackson does it right and for a change Knicks fans can be patient knowing that they may finally have a real basketball mind in place to make proper personnel decisions.
Jackson’s two biggest issues for the summer are convincing Carmelo Anthony to stay and finding a capable head coach for this team.
If he accomplishes both, his first offseason will be a success no matter how much the Knicks will likely struggle on the court next season.
Anthony has given no indication that he will forgo opting out of his contract this summer to test free agency now that Jackson has officially joined the Knicks, but at least a plan is now in place and that is part of what ‘Melo wants to see.
It is highly unlikely that Jackson will entice a team to take the contracts of Andrea Bargnani ($11.5 million), Amar’e Stoudemire ($23.4 million), or Tyson Chandler ($14.6 million) off his hands, but stranger things have happened.
However he can evaluate all three high priced players next season and make decisions after.
Bargnani has no chance of coming back after his contract expires and while Chandler still has value, he will be 33 when the 2015 season comes around and his body is breaking down more by the year. I have a hard time seeing Jackson extending an offer to the former Defensive Player of the Year to return.
STAT is a different story as he has been productive as of late. While it would be nice to see Stoudemire come back on a team-friendly deal, the mere fact that he and Anthony have never meshed well should also signal his exit.
We just have to be patient as it won’t happen next season.
With talent and salary cap issues still dooming this franchise it’s not fair to expect Jackson to rebuild this franchise overnight.
We will see what he has up his sleeve during the summer of 2015.
It’s painful to have to wait until then for results, but while Knicks fans are used to playing the waiting game, at least this time the wait could eventually pay off.