Written by Kevin Meng
The Lakers had barely recovered from the hangover induced by winning game 7 against Pierce, Garnett & Sons, a bloodbath more reminiscent of World War One trench warfare than the finale of the National Basketball Association’s 64th season.
Kobe Bryant was still bitter that he hadn’t been able to shoot his team out of their 16th championship, try his damnedest though he did. The NBA was still abuzz about the draft that had just taken place. Was John Wall really better than Evan Turner? (yes, that was bandied about). Would Demarcus Cousins ever put it together? Who’s this skinny guy from Fresno State that Indiana just drafted? (better known as Paul George these days). And how the hell do you pronounce Hamady N’Diaye, the 56th pick from Senegal?
All the while, Knicks fans around the world glimmered with ignorant optimism about the future. THIS WAS THE SUMMER OF 2010! We had been swimming in a pool of stale water for years, polluted by the now defunct, non-eco- friendly conglomerate known as Isiah Thomas Co. We wanted the biggest names in the game: Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh. Actually, we wanted two of the biggest names in the game. Little did we know that they had been in cahoots with Riley in South Beach the whole time, and never wanted to play under the bright lights of MSG.
We wanted James and Wade; we got Stoudemire and Felton. The Big Three won not 1, not 2, not…well, actually they only won 2 titles. Better than the Knicks, though. Amar’e is now struggling for minutes in a league not friendly to old men with knee problems, and Felton is the rare NBA breed that has more gun charges on his record than NBA accolades.
What this long-winded rant about 2010 is meant to demonstrate is that the Knicks in the offseason of 2016, armed with enough cap space to throw at big names (which there are none of, by the way. KD doesn’t count), need to remember their lessons from 2010.
The New York Knicks simply don’t land big name free agents. 6 months of MVP Amar’e followed by 4 years of knee surgeries doesn’t count. What 2010 should also teach them is that just because you have money to spend, doesn’t mean to you have to spend it. When the Knicks struck out on the marquee names, they panicked and overpaid an aging and injury-riddled star to make up for it (respect to Amar’e for how well he played, though, and for always fighting to get healthy. He gave New York his all).
So here we find ourselves:
The Knicks are in an interesting (and by interesting, read problematic) situation: KP is too young to help Melo lift the Knicks into a contender, and Melo is too old to be a star when KP hits his prime. Phil Jackson promised to build the team through free agency, but with only enough money to sign 1 max contract this season that just isn’t possible, especially since we are the only team that is starting two corpses at the guard positions and relying on cold Taco Bell leftovers to fill out our bench. Money can buy talent in the NBA, but what I’m about to say might never be said again in sports history: this New York sports team just doesn’t have enough money to buy the players it needs (are you happy, Oklahoma? I HOPE SO!)
Derozan? No. Just no. Conley? I’d love him, but he’s not worth 25 million per season, not when coming off a season-ending injury, and he wasn’t a spring chicken to begin with (small guards REALLY hit the decline around 29). Batum? Yes please! But not for 25 million, not when that means not having enough $ to get anyone else (he ain’t leaving Charlotte, anyway). Kevin Durant? Sure, just as soon as I get back from from my summer fling with my 3 hot Russian girlfriends. None of this offseason’s realistic “marquee” names will be worth the max, and not one will vault us into contender status. So what’s the solution?
Two-timeline free agents
What is a two-timeline free agent?
A two-timeline(here on referred to as 2-t), is a free agent who is good enough to really help us in the short term, but young and affordable enough to help the team should we part ways with Melo and go into a rebuild. That means being on an affordable deal and being a long-term cog, but not being so good that we get stuck back on the treadmill again.
Signing a max name like Batum, DD, or Conley (can you believe these guys are going to get MAXIMUM money? What can men do against such reckless hate?) means this team is locked into maxing itself out in the next 3-4 years, and certainly falling short of the NBA finals. Signing a 2-t free agent gives us options, especially in the summer of 2017 when players who are legitimately deserving of max deals will be available (Westbrook, Curry, Griffin, Antete-however that guy from the Bucks spells his name, CP3, and Hayward come to mind).
If Afflalo and Williams don’t opt in, and if the Knicks don’t bring back Gallo or Thomas, then we can expect roughly 30 or so million in cap space for the team.
Part 2 coming tomorrow