The number one task for the New York Knicks this offseason is to re-sign Carmelo Anthony to a new deal. With other big name franchises such as the Los Angeles Lakers and the Chicago Bulls, who have both have been linked as possibilities for Anthony, makes it that much more difficult for the Knicks to retain him.
Also, Yahoo Sports writer Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Houston Rockets have also become another potential suitor for Anthony as well.
According to Wojnarowski:
“The Bulls have an easier path to clear the necessary salary-cap space to sign Anthony, but the Rockets believe they can shed the contracts necessary to offer a third near-max deals alongside Dwight Howard and James Harden, league sources said.”
What New York has to offer that other franchises can’t is the money and that is what they hope is enough to keep him. The Knicks are capable of offering roughly $30 million more than the other reported potential destinations.
If Anthony does decide to leave, the Knicks still will not be under the salary cap for this offseason. With most of the team’s cap room going to Andrea Bargnani, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Tyson Chandler, the team would be very limited on the moves they can make.
If they decide to make a trade with one of them they are clearly making the transaction for future draft picks. Not only does it hurt them financially, but also the level of the talent on the roster diminishes instantly.
Without Anthony, the Knicks will be a lottery pick team and that may be what they would have to deal with for a few years in order to enter the rebuilding process.
To help initiate the process, trading long term contracts such as J.R. Smith and Raymond Felton may not be a terrible idea. Although, it may be difficult to trade Felton after his “situations” last season, Smith may draw just enough interest to get a good player who fits the future “plans”, and a second round pick. The risk being made with deals of that sort may not be enough to keep Melo’ in New York.
If he does leave, something else the front office should be aware about is the coaching situation. In fact, the team’s coaching situation is arguably just as important as retaining Melo. After going 37-45 with a roster that they possess is unacceptable. It is time to address that now and if they want to keep their franchise player and/or attract other top free agents it’s a necessity.
With new front office executive Phil Jackson as the head man in charge reports have been surfacing that Steve Kerr is the front-runner for the Knicks head coaching job for next season. Everyone knows Kerr is the most logical choice so he can implement Jackson’s triangle offense.
Kerr having played in that offense for a few years in Chicago is very knowledgeable with the system and could potentially be a perfect fit. Kerr also has front office experience with the Phoenix Suns and that makes him more useful for the franchise moving forward. Even with Anthony gone if he leaves, the team’s future will look brighter with a more visible plan.
As I mentioned earlier, moving contracts like Smith’s and Felton’s would help the franchise move forward only if another team is actually willing to take them.
In the Knicks case, if they want to bring a new coach and keep Anthony it would be a smart idea to get rid of the headaches in the locker room. Giving the coach less drama and distractions to deal with to start could only help their chances.
The only thing about these sorts of deals is what got them into trouble in the first place. It is because of deals for Felton, Smith, Amar’e that has put this franchises back against the walls in the first place.
That’s the biggest reason they have no draft picks which makes it more challenging to rebuild the franchise. When it comes to either keeping Melo or losing him they are rebuilding regardless of the scenario.
The worst-case scenario for the franchise to prepare for is Anthony leaving and they get absolutely no big signings in free agency. That gives the Knicks a high draft pick for 2015 and that would be a good start to their much needed transformation for one of the greatest franchises in basketball history.